A desire by Sharon Mansell to have her Great, Great, Grandfather Hieronymus Georg Hartig’s burial plot recognised by the Light Regional Council (LRC) in the  Buchsfelde Old Lutheran Cemetery on Two Well Road, Buchfelde, has grown into a major restoration project.

Despite the rebuff by the Council, Ms Mansell was not deterred, and ultimately agreed to have him recognised with a memorial park bench and plaque in the cemetery grounds, as his actual burial plot was unknown.

Ms Mansell said the process to obtain approval for the park bench took about two years, which gave her time to find out about the other inhabitants in this cemetery.

“HG Hartig’s Memorial Bench was unveiled on 10 October 2022 and the seed grew from there, as a well-known historian, and Schomburgk descendant, Dr Pauline Payne also attended the event,” said Ms Mansell.

“We found that the grave site of the late Otto Schomburgk was in a state of disrepair.”

“The Schomburgk’s were a well known family who migrated from what is modern day Germany and settled in the at Buchsfelde in 1849”.  

“I was so disheartened to learn about Otto and see the deterioration of his final resting place.”

The interest in the cemetery culminated into the formation of the Buchsfelde Cemetery Restoration Group.

“Since then, we have been meeting approximately 4 times a year at the Exchange Hotel in Gawler, even though very few of us live in the Gawler region,” said Ms Mansell.

Ms Mansell said since Otto Schomburgk was a member of the Lodge of Fidelity No 5 (Gawler Freemasons) we wrote to the Lodge to see if they would be interested in providing a plaque to mark the presence of Otto’s remains in the cemetery.

“Fortunately, they agreed to help.”

“We are now working with the LRC to see what can be done to restore Otto’s gravesite.”

Local member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo has welcomed the decision by descendants and friends of the late Otto Schomburgk to help restore his gravesite at the Buchsfelde Old Lutheran Cemetery.

“It is very sad to see his grave site in such a state of disrepair,” said Mr Piccolo.

“Otto Schomburgk was very active in the Gawler community during his lifetime.”

“For example, he was the first president of the Gawler Show Society in 1854 and remained in this capacity until his death in 1857.”  

“He was a very valuable member of the first European (German) settlers to the area.”

“We often take many things for granted today, not fully understanding the hard work previous generations have undertaken to develop our town and community.”

“I look forward to working alongside the Buchsfelde Old Lutheran Cemetery Restoration Group to see Otto’s and other grave sites restored to their former glory.”

“The cemetery as a whole could do with some tender loving care.”

“There is so much history buried at this cemetery that needs to be unearthed and appreciated.” added Mr Piccolo.

Mr Piccolo said he would welcome hearing from any descendants who have family buried at the cemetery or any person who has information or photos of the various grave sites.