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Grovedale (Germantown) Cemetery

Church Street, Grovedale

In December 1849, Dr. Thomson (one of Geelong’s first settlers) arrange for at least 20 German immigrants (and their children) to come to Victoria aboard the “Emmy” and establish a German village within the neighbourhood of Geelong. Those aboard include the Bieske, Baensch, Kerger, Winter and Boehm families.

The area soon became known as Germantown and the new settlers purchased their land from the subdividers. Vineyards and market gardens were soon established and the produce carted to Geelong in wheelbarrows. Most of the settles were Lutherans, from a small area of Prussia, east of Berlin on the River Oder, but others were from various parts of Germany. The political climate, economic hardships and lack of religious freedom seem to have been the main reasons for them leaving their homeland. The original settlers soon encouraged other family members and friends to join them in the colony.

Church services were held in homes until land was purchased in Church Street in 1854 where a school was built with the cemetery located beside it. Services were then held in the school until 1859 when a Lutheran Church was built.

The records of the church no longer exist prior to 1894, and details of burials have been gleaned from existing headstones, death certificates and death notices from the “Geelong Advertiser.” Most of the older headstone inscriptions are in German and are headed Hier Ruhet in Gott which means Here Rests in God. Birth dates, as well as death dates are usually inscribed. There are some misspellings on the headstones probably due to non-German stonemasons doing the engraving.

in 1915 the name of Germantown was changed to “Grovedale.”

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