Lest we forget

November 11, 2015
Lest we forget

South Australias most unusual cultural tourism experience was launched at State Heritage listed West Terrace Cemetery on Friday March 4. 2011. The self-guided interpretive trail, named Heritage Highlights, reveals many surprising stories of eminent and everyday South Australians buried at the historic cemetery.

The Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) cemetery opened in 1920 and provided a burial ground for men and women who served in the First World War. It was the first soldiers burial ground in the Commonwealth. Among those buried in the AIF cemetery are four of the five South Australians awarded the Victoria Cross during the World War I.

Arthur Seaforth Blackburn (1892-1960)

Victoria Cross recipient

On 25 April 1915 Arthur Blackburn was among the first 50 Australian soldiers to land at Gallipoli, Turkey and was one of only two Australian men to penetrate well behind Turkish lines, around 1800 metres inland from Anzac Cove.

It was at Pozieres, France that Blackburns courage and devotion to duty came to the fore. In the face of fierce opposition, and with many of his men either killed or wounded in the action, Blackburn led four successive bombing parties destroying an enemy strong point and capturing nearly 350 metres of trench. For this action he became the first South Australian to be awarded the VC.

Blackburn was a founding member of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmens Imperial League (the RSL) in South Australia, serving as president from 19171921 and from 19461949.

He also enlisted in World War II, serving in the Middle East and Java before spending more than three years in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp, until the war ended in 1945.

Blackburn is one of four Victoria Cross recipients from the First World War buried in the AIF cemetery at West Terrace Cemetery.

Almost as old as European settlement, historic West Terrace Cemetery dates back to 1837 when it was zoned by Colonel William Light in his plan for the City of Adelaide. Since then more than 150,000 burials have taken place and the cemetery has expanded to cover an area of 27.6 hectares.

As Adelaides main public cemetery for almost 100 years, people from all walks of life have their final resting place here, bringing the many threads of South Australias rich heritage together in one place.

In recognition of the cemeterys historic value, the cemetery was listed as a place of State Heritage Significance on 23 November 1989.

Editors Note: Gosee acknowledges with thanks Adelaide Cemeteries Authority who provide the words and pictures for this feature story. Copyright alert - the images in this story are not to be reproduced for any purpose other than promoting West Terrace Cemetery and the new interpetrive trail without the express consent of the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority.

Here is the full Heritage Highlights Information Article: