April 27 1867, a one year old girl Eliza Amey was playing in the dairy
at milking time on the family farm between Maffra and Newry. Fearing
she may put her hands in the milk, her mother put her outside, and when
she went to check a few minutes later, found the little girl had fallen
into a water hole and drowned. In those early days the cemetery had not
been established, so the family had to bury Eliza on the farm. Her
father cut two slabs of bark from a large redgum tree beside the road,
Eliza was enclosed in this bush coffin, and buried on a high point
overlooking the Newry Creek.
grave was originally surrounded by a post and rail fence, but this
disappeared long ago and the grave site lay unmarked. A century and a
half later the old coffin tree still stands, above, known to
members of the family and a few locals, and the Bellbird Corner
Committee decided to work to have the tree and grave suitably
preserved and marked. The tree was fenced off, a support was
installed, and a plaque detailing its history put in place. A large
rock was placed on the roadside adjacent to the grave, and a plaque in
memory of Eliza fixed to it, a reminder to all who pass, of the
hardships and tragedies endured by those early pioneers
to the Wellington Shire the exact position of her bush coffin was
established by ground penetrating radar, we sourced a beautiful natural
headstone from the foothills, and it was installed at the head of
her grave with a bronze plaque attached. The grave was then enclosed by a low steel railing.
Here we are after a drizzly morning’s work with Eliza’s
memorial finally in place.
The Bellbird Corner
Committee worked on this for so long that we feel as if little Eliza is
one of our own, and to see the new headstone standing gives us a lot of
Above the creek flat, on a rise,a little girl lies sleeping,her grave unmarked for many years,beneath the wind-blown grasses.Just one year old, her life cut short,flood water has no pity,bush coffin made of red gum bark,to hold her tiny body.Remembered though, by those who care,she will not be forgotten,her resting place is marked once more,white-painted rails and stone.Now, if people passing by should pause,to gaze and quietly ponder,the little girl who knew so few,may hear them call –“Eliza”.