About the George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery

About the Cemetery

Previously known under other titles, including Avondale Cemetery, Orchard Street Cemetery, Rosebank Road Cemetery…  the cemetery gained its current title through dedicated maintenance by a parishioner of St. Jude’s Church up until the late 1980s.

The land measures approximately 88 yards by 55 yards  = 4840 sq. yards  =  1 acre.

Dr. Thomas AICKEN donated this land for use by the church, as a cemetery, when his infant son, William, aged 3, passed away in 1862 and became the first burial.  A communal AICKEN headstone records this, near the north-eastern corner of the cemetery, several rows back from the Rosebank Road frontage.

The cemetery was active years before St. Jude’s Church was founded in 1884 and the parent Church of St. Luke in 1872.  It is administered by the Vestry/Cemetery Board of St. Jude’s Church, with Battersby Funeral Services of Avondale acting as Sexton.

Early burial records have been sketchy, lost, or in some cases possibly non-existent.  Weather and rot will have seen to early wooden crosses, if they marked plots from near 150 years ago.

A first survey was carried out in 1965, at which time the existing plots gained an  “E” suffix.  Results were set out in a burial record book, housed at Battersby’s Funeral Services in Avondale shopping centre.  Plots occurring after the 1965 survey have been given a straight number, with no  “E”.

In April 1980, the N.Z. Society of Genealogists carried out an updated survey, which included headstone transcripts.  Survey results were lodged with Battersby’s, St. Jude’s Church, Auckland Public Library, the Archives of the Auckland Diocesan Church Office (basement of Holy Trinity in Parnell) and several copies going to the N.Z. Society of Genealogists.

History of the Cemetery

The George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery (formerly known as Avondale Cemetery, Rosebank Cemetery, and Orchard Street Cemetery) is Avondale’s oldest cemetery. This was once part of the farm of Dr Thomas Aickin.  A son of his, William Aickin, was the first burial there (3 August 1862).

In the early 1860s, Dr. Aickin subscribed the land to the Anglican Diocese as his contribution toward the setting up of an Anglican church at Avondale. In 1886 ownership of the property was transferred to “Alan Kerr Taylor, John Bollard and Matthew Thomas Clayton upon trust for a cemetery and for religious charitable and educational purposes.”

In 1958, the last member of the Cemetery Trust Board, Harold Bollard, appointed the General Trust Board of the Diocese of Auckland to be trustees of the cemetery. Responsibility was then handed over to the Parochial District of Avondale. In 1990, the cemetery was named the George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery, after the late caretaker, George Maxwell.