Tales from the crypt: tours bring stories to life

THE pioneers of Warrnambool’s vibrant arts scene will be celebrated in this summer’s walking tours of the city’s cemetery. 

Each year the Warrnambool Family History Group shines a light on different notable characters buried in the cemetery who made a difference to their community during their lives. 

Tour host Ray Welsford said there would be 14 grave sites visited on this year’s tour. 

“This one has been a bit harder to research,” he said. 

“People in the arts didn’t seem to get the type of coverage or recognition or coverage in the media they do now, so it was a bit harder trying to research this one, but I think we still have some interesting stories to tell.”

Mr Welsford said one of the graves visited would be that of Louis Bayer, who wrote and performed a number of operas in the 1800s. 

“One was about milking cows on a dairy, and another was about the federation of the Australian colonies, so he has an interesting story to tell,” Mr Welsford  told The Standard. 

“We will also visit the grave of Eva Gaspar, who did a huge amount of work with music and performing arts. 

“The main theatre in the old performing arts centre was named after her.” 

Mr Welsford said the walks were first held 20 years ago by the late Marie Boyce.

 Mr Welsford said people would be amazed at the “movers and shakers of the city’s arts scene” who are buried in the Warrnambool cemetery. 

The walks will be held over two weekends, starting on Saturday at 10.30am followed by further walks on Sunday at 2pm, January 12 at 2pm and January 13 at 6pm. 

Each tour takes about one-and-a-half hours and those interested are asked to meet at the rotunda off Otway Road. 

A $5 donation to the family history group would be appreciated. 

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