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"Between August 1894 and August 1920, ninety-seven burials took place at the Glen Wills Cemetery, on the Omeo Highway, North of Omeo and South of the Mitta Mitta township. This Cemetery is now cared for by the people of the near by Glen Valley.


During those 26 years this Cemetery served the mining areas of Sunnyside and Glen Wills. To stand on the site of the long gone township of Sunnyside is an eerie feeling. "Sunnyside is situated on the Sunny side of nearby Mt Wills and is approximately 4000 feet above sea level. Today there is little more than blackberry bushes and a few very ancient fruit trees to mark the place where once was a thriving township. A Hotel, Stores, Catholic Church, School and Mechanics Institute and a population of around 600 people.


Sunnyside was reached by a rough bush track from Omeo known as the Knocker Track. Mail was delivered by coach and heavy goods by Bullock Wagon. Farmers from Benambra would make trips to the township with fresh meat, vegetables, butter and other produce, which was much in demand. Mr George Fitzgerald of "Shannon Vale" supplied oats to feed the horses. By 1924 the ore had become difficult to treat financially and water was also causing a problem, and not long afterwards the town was abandoned.


The Cemetery records illustrate the hardships experienced during these years - isolation, the severe weather conditions in winter, primitive housing and no doctors. Of the 97 persons buried, 40 were infants - sometime twins, sometimes a mother had died and soon after her baby. No baby formulas to feed a motherless baby, whooping cough and other illnesses would account for young children dying. Several young men were buried "by order of the Police In Charge" - I wonder what the story behind that would reveal? These truly were the Pioneers of this land.


Some years ago, due to the efforts of Mr Cecil Cooper, a sign was erected denoting Glen Wills Cemetery and a fence along the roadside. By this time only two graves were marked - one unknown and another marked by a fence in which a tree denoting the grave of Mrs Phillis Emmer Bittner, aged 43, who was buried in 1916.


In recent years (1985) a firm of bridge builders were constructing a new bridge over the Mitta Mitta river at Glen Valley. The mother of the bridge builders (of Croatian descent), was visiting her sons and was amased that there were no crosses in the Cemetery. Before leaving the area, they built a large cross on a square slab and promised that one day they would come back and erect crosses to commemorate the grave sites. This they did in the summer of 1991. As there is no plan of the actual sites of the graves, they were placed in a double row consistent with the two graves visible."

Photos Courtesy Scott Westlake Photography

Distance & direction from Melbourne: 454 Klms NW

4834 Omeo Hwy, Glen Wills

Glen Wills Cemetary

Historic site, Victoria

List of burials

Destinations to explore near

Glen Wills Cemetary

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