"Bolton Str. Memorial Park, Bisected by a Motorway" Top 5 Page for this destination Bolton Street Memorial Park Tip by Kakapo2

  Graves between motorway and city buildings.
by Kakapo2
  • Graves between motorway and city buildings. - Wellington
      Graves between motorway and city buildings.
    by Kakapo2
  • Map of the Memorial Park. - Wellington
      Map of the Memorial Park.
    by Kakapo2
  • The motorway that bisects the old cemetery. - Wellington
      The motorway that bisects the old cemetery.
    by Kakapo2

This is a strange place, for a start. It is strange because a part of Wellington?s oldest cemetery, dating back to 1840, had to be removed for the Urban Motorway. It is located at the eastern end of the Botanic Garden, a short stroll from Lambton Quay.

Many headstones were removed for the motorway construction. They were relocated in the appropriate section of the cemetery, and the remains of the burials were reinterred into a mass grave on the city side of the motorway. Their names are listed in the Anglican Mortuary Chapel.

You can cross the motorway on a pedestrian overbridge, and when you stand there you get aware of this strange bisection, the cars nearly racing over the graves.

Nearly 8500 people have been buried on this cemetery. When it had reached its capacity a new one was opened in Karori.

A Memorial Trail leads past many interesting burial sites. The most famous person buried there surely is Sir Richard Seddon (1845 ? 1906) who was New Zealand?s prime minister from 1893 and died in office. Wellington?s first time-keeping observatory was recolated to make way for his tomb. His statue stands in front of Parliament House.

Other interesting persons buried at Bolton Street Memorial Park:

Samuel Duncan Parnell (1810 ? 1890) who is credited with creating the eight hour working day;
John Plimmer (1812 ? 1905), a pioneer who is kept alive for Wellingtonians by a statue of the man himself and his dog at the bottom of the Plimmer Steps off Lambton Quay;
Henry Edmund Holland (1868 ? 1933), the leader of New Zealand?s Labour Party from 1918 to 1933;
James Edward Fitzgerald (1818 ? 1896), editor and owner of the Press in Christchurch, superintendent of Canterbury, MP for Lyttelton, honoured with a statue in Rolleston Avenue (near Cashel Street).

Many headstones tell the stories of the hard times the early settlers faced in their new home country. I found a great brochure about the Memorial Trail with the stories of many of those people in a box near the Motorway overbridge. The trail is divided ? like the cemetery ? in an upper and a lower trail. Some parts of the trails are unsealed and include steps. There is no wheelchair access.

The park is open from dawn till dusk, no admission fee.

Entry from Bolton Street, a sign-posted pathway off Bowen Street (via Governor?s Way), and from the Botanic Garden (beyond Anderson Park).

Photo 2 is a map of the old cemetery and the trails.

Photo 3 shows the motorway that bisects the cemetery.

Address: Bolton Street, Wellington
Directions: 10 min walk from downtown.
Phone: (04) 476 6109
Website: http://www.wellington.govt.nz/services/gardens/boltonstreetmemorial/boltonstreetmemorial.html

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 15, 2008
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