In the modern era, Wilsons Promontory National Park has become an area of Victoria that is visited by many people each year who flock in their thousands to take in the natural beauty and scenery of the area. Nestled away among a wooded area near the old Yanakie Station homestead lies the small Yanakie Station Cemetery, which is a reminder of the difficulties faced in the 1800s by the early settlers in this remote and harsh environment.
There are only five people buried at this hidden cemetery, and a commemorative display was erected in 2016 dedicated to the lives of these settlers. James McKeich, who leased the nearby Yanakie Station in 1862, was an immigrant from Scotland and was dealer in cattle, sheep, and horses across Victoria. He died suddenly in 1864 of an aortic aneurysm, and records suggest his death was attributed to the stress of losing two shipments of horses sent to New Zealand. Also buried here is McKeich’s wife Mary, and her youngest son William, who tragically died after falling into a tub of scalding water aged 16 months.
The second grave was the final resting place of Rev. William Brown, an Anglican minister visiting from Melbourne who died of “exhaustion.” The third grave has an equally tragic story, where the remains lie of Alice Musgrave, a young girl who passed away only seven months old. She was the daughter of Thomas Musgrave, keeper of the famous Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse, and became acutely unwell from an unknown illness. In an attempt to get urgent medical attention, Alice was ridden by horse in a shawl slung over her older brother’s arm. But the remoteness of the lighthouse made that a difficult journey. After 34 miles they reached the Yanakie Station and Alice passed away, sadly still 90 miles away from the nearest medical service.
Know Before You Go
The Yanakie Station Cemetery is a short walk from the Stockyard Campsite Car Park. There is a signposted track to reach the cemetery from there.