Jollies Hotel Burial Site

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This burial site is located in Southland on SH6, the Athol to Five Rivers Highway, between Invercargill and Queenstown. The exact location is {link to map???}, just south of Parawa on the East side of the road.


A roadside cairn of concrete and local stone, about 1 meter high and 1.5 meters square at the base, was erected in 1934 near the graves of 3 men and one woman. The cost was borne by local residents assisted by a grant of £5 from the Southland County Council and another of the same amount from the local branch of the Farmers Union.

The cairn bears a marble slab inscribed as follows:- "In memory of our unknown pioneers buried here, Jolly Waggoners Hotel. Somebody's loved ones. Erected by local residents, 1st October, 1934."

Under the tablet is a niche with a drawer in which was placed a book containing much of the history of the early settlers of the district as is available, and a visitor's book.

In the records it is noted that: "It is proposed to surround the graves with a border of large stones which will be painted white, and the committee are of the opinion that this is all that necessary, as no gain would result from the expense of fencing or conveying the area to the Council. It seems to me also that this arrangement should be satisfactory to everyone concerned.

Claire Paterson visited the site recently and the book was gone & the wooden drawer was in poor condition.


From "History of Northern Southland" by GA Hamilton:

3 men & 1 woman died there"

The woman was Margaret Smith & she was drowned when a coach was upset in Fryers Creek in 1866 . Miss Smith was one of a party of twelve woman who came to NZ as domestics from Aberdeen.

Note however that a slightly different account is given in "Where Five Rivers Run" by Alistair Hamilton (the same gent?), which says: "The first one was a young lady from Aberdeen who was in a party of 12 young ladies going from Invercargill to the goldfields and the wagon overturned and she drowned in the Mataura River at Parawa in 1864."

One of the men buried there was James Cannon who died through eating tutu berries which he had declared were non-poisonous.

The second man was Charles Edward HERON, 35 years, died 1911, a cook employed at the Glenquoich station during the shearing season . He was found dead in bed at the Jollies presumably as a result of injuries received in a fight with a shearer.

The third man was a miner found dead in his hut at the Nokomai diggings.

At the time all the names were known but with the passing of time names have been lost.


This information was supplied by Claire Sinclair Paterson and Avis McDonald.

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