West Terrace Cemetery History

State heritage listed West Terrace Cemetery dates back to European settlement of South Australia and is one of the oldest operating cemeteries in the country.

Initially known as Adelaide Public cemetery, the location of the cemetery was fixed by Colonel William Light in his 1837 survey of the City of Adelaide. Since its establishment more than 150,000 burials have taken place and the cemetery has expanded to cover an area of 27.6 hectares.

The establishment of a Jewish section in 1843 began the denominational division of the cemetery, with subsequent allocations of land being made to the Catholic Church, Church of England and Society of Friends (Quakers).

The cemetery has a long and colourful history and is a rich source of stories that chronicle the development of Adelaide from a fledgling colony to a modern city.

Today West Terrace Cemetery is renowned for its ornate 19th century monuments, historic burial sites as well as some of the only remaining indigenous vegetation of the Adelaide Plain.

The cemetery also holds important links to major national developments and achievements and is associated with many Australian firsts; including the establishment of Australia’s first dedicated military burial ground, the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) section, and Adelaide Crematorium, the country’s first modern crematorium.

Testament to the cemetery's historic value, West Terrace Cemetery was listed on the State Heritage Register in 1989.

Click here to download a more comprehensive history of West Terrace Cemetery.

West Terrace History