This grave marker is one of two known Wooden Grave Markers in South Australia of any significance. There is only one other known in West Terrace Cemetery, recently removed for preservation. (There are two others in Moonta Cemetery but there is no wording remaining). A Wooden Grave Marker, as opposed to an intentional temporary marker for a grave awaiting construction of a permanent headstone of lasting materials, was the headstone for an ordinary person who could not afford a marble or stone headstone, or who did not have access to longer lasting materials for a headstone. It was often shaped in the form of a typical headstone.
This Wooden Grave Marker is on the grave site of Samuel Jones (1836-1865) and Eliza Jones (1811-1875) who were born and married in Cornwall and travelled on the Waterloo ship to Port Adelaide South Australia. They had nine children and followed the mining rush to the gold fields in Victoria, copper mining in Burra, South Australia, and then Moonta Mines, South Australia, where they both lived until their deaths. The grave marker is a significant cultural item, demonstrating the practices followed by the poorer average citizen in the mid-1800s, especially in the case of Cornish Miners and their families, in regard to end of life customs. It is especially important, as it rounds out the cultural aspects of the Cornish Miner’s passage in life from birth to death, as depicted in various displays in the Moonta Mines Museum, part of the National Heritage assets of the area. Moonta Mines is recognised as a place of significant Cornish mining heritage and attracts large numbers of descendant’s researching their family history and tourists interested in the mining heritage. It has National Heritage status. The Copland foundation has provided a grant to Copper Coast Council and Moonta National Trust to preserve the marker by transferring it to the Moonta Mines Museum and building and placing a replica on the grave. This has been done with the permission of family who transferred the ownership of the grave marker to the Moonta National Trust.
This project was undertaken at the request of Moonta History Centre volunteers. Marilyn Philbey has studied and documented many aspects of Moonta Cemetery, providing an extensive database of the burials there. Robyn Knight has researched the Jones family tree.
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