Sunday, April 15, 2012

Historic headstones in Franklin

For almost two years I have driven past a sign just north of Franklin pointing to 'pioneer graves' up Maxfields Road and thought, "I must go up for a look one day". Yesterday I stopped and walked up to the old cemetery. I'm no expert on local history, but there are several well-known local family names on the headstones, families that are still living in the Huon Valley today, like the Griggs, Canes and Judds. Henry and Isobel Judd had named a daughter Franklina Amelia - what a quaint name. Most gravestones are plain, a few more ornate, some graves unmarked. It's clear that someone is maintaining the site with care. It struck me how long many people lived given how tough their lives must have been, a few reaching their 80s or 90s. Others were less fortunate, like the woman aged 23 whose life was described as "one long sacrifice to others", and the Hay family, who lost two daughters aged 9 months and 10 years in 1866 and a one-year-old son nine years later. The Franklin Congregational Church is no longer there but is to be seen in this blurry photograph from 1870. There are more historic graves up Jacksons Road in Franklin but I haven't actually found them yet.


  1. Dear Susan The grave of Annie jefferson nee Hay is my great aunt sister of my grandfather William Hay. Annie is the daughter of Ann Matilda Meredith & John Hay 2 . Annie died after giving birth to a son . She is buried next to her mothetr Ann Matilda Hay . John Hay 1 bought his wife Margo & 3 children to tasmania in the early 1840's. The Hay family are said to be some of the the founders of Franklin. The Hay Family had a reunion Easter 2010 at Franklin & the graveyard has been looked after by family members . There are a few Hay's still in the area. Helen Sanson Allambie Heights Sydney

  2. Wow Helen, thanks so much for adding this information. There is some amazing history around here. I hope you don't mind me featuring the photo of that particular grave on my blog. The graveyard is such a beautiful piece of Franklin and so easily overlooked or driven past as I did for ages. P.S. - we previously lived in Dee Why/Narraweena, so not far up the road from you. Best, Susan

  3. Hi Susan
    The Maxfields Road Cemetery is being restored by Des Hay who lives right opposite the end of Maxfields Road, by the river. He is doing a fantastic job of restoration. I am documenting the people interred in the cemetery and have foound more than 85 so far. Unfortunately the original plan of the graves and all the burial registers have been lost but I've ben able to trace information from newspapers and the headstones. With that information I hope to produce a document that has full family details for all thoe buried there plus photos of the headstones with their inscriptions deciphered and photos of the people where possible. It's a work in progress but there is a draft of about 130 pages that I can provide if I'm contacted. Eric Mobbs -

  4. Thank You Eric & Des, we visited this cemetery today. It's wonderful to see these cemeteries kept & history preserved as we owe alot to those before us for what they did & acheived.
    Well done to all involved we also visited a few others in the area also as we where doing our family trees research forour silent relies.
    Bernie & Gerald

  5. My grandmother is buried in this cemetery. Alice Norris (nee Holloway) August 29th, 1936. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Christine at

  6. My husband and I went up Maxfields road in search for graves yesterday but were unable to find them. How far up Maxfields rd are they and is there any signage? Jenny

    1. Hi Jenny, it's not very far up at all - maybe 500 metres? The best bet is to park at the bottom of the road on the Huon Hwy and walk up. You'll walk past a corrigated iron factory on the left, then just past the next house is a green sign pointing to the graves (also on the left). The most distinguishing feature of the site is a HUGE pine tree, hard to miss :-)