Cemetery 973 - Avondale Adventist

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Avondale Adventist

20 Central Rd

Cooranbong

NSW

2265

-33.080250

151.453490

With the establishment of Avondale College in 1897 the early Adventists in the community felt they needed to have their own cemetery. In the early colonial history of the state of New South Wales in Australia, it was customary for each denomination to have its own burial ground, typically adjacent to their church. The first burial took place in June 1898 when Brother ER Tucker was laid to rest. The second person buried was William Sumpter who had come down from Queensland for treatment at the Summer Hill Sanitarium and later moved to Cooranbong where he died in December 1898. Three people were buried in 1899, including Elsie Gates, whose accidental death is well known. With Sarah Peck and Ella Boyd, Elsie was returning from a visit to Ellen White's home, Sunnyside, along 'Girls Walk' when the horse balked and backed itself and the gig into Dora Creek. Sarah Peck and Ella Boyd were able to escape but Elsie Gates was trapped and drowned. Fred Reekie, the farm manager, was quickly on the scene but unable to rescue Elsie and had to convey the sad news to her brother, Pastor EH Gates, when he later arrived on campus. Another person buried at Avondale in the early years of the cemetery was Rhae Allbon. Her tombstone is simply inscribed, 'Rhae', and when the question was raised as to why no further information was provided the answer was that she was so well known it was unnecessary.

Initially the district Seventh-day Adventist Church funded the establishment of the Cemetery until it became self-supporting. These churches, Avondale Memorial SDA Church, Avondale College Church, Hillview SDA Church, Lakeside SDA Church and Dora Creek SDA Church provide members for its Board of Management.

The Lake Macquarie Shire Council, in 1983, classified the Cemetery as a conservation area, noting that 'The uniformity of this site distinguish it (sic) from other modern cemeteries. It provides a comprehensive documentation of the development of the Seventh-day Adventist Centre in Cooranbong, their headquarters in NSW and major settlement in Australia, from 1897 to the present.' Elsewhere in the same conservation document it is noted, '…the cemetery is immaculately maintained. Apparently there is no religious symbolism which explains this treatment, only that of 'caring & respect for our dead' as one Seventh-day Adventist explained it.'

For further information, contact the Avondale SDA Cemetery Manager (02) 4944 3288 or 0411 797 854

avondalecemetery.org.au/

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