The St Bathans Catholic Cemetery



Welcome to this portrayal of the Catholic Cemetery, St Bathans, Central Otago, New Zealand.  The following pages contain a surnames list of those buried here, a cemetery plan showing the locations of the burial plots in which they are interred, photographs of the headstones which survive, and inscriptions taken from those headstones.

The cemetery was first used in the 1860s, shortly after St Bathans was settled following the discovery of gold in the area.  The grounds are also home to St Patrick's Church (above), a mud-brick (adobe) building erected in 1892.  The previous church was destroyed by gale force winds (the 'roaring forties') in 1877.  An inside and outside restoration of the present church, and repair of its foundations, was completed in 2007.

The bell tower to the left of the church was re-erected in 1992 to mark the church's centennial.

The cemetery and church are located at the top of Cross Street, only a few sections above Loop Road, the principal road serving the St Bathans locality.

St Bathans was the first parish created in the Diocese of Dunedin, New Zealand, but now is contained within the pastoral area of Omakau, a present-day parish of the Diocese of Dunedin, New Zealand.  Interestingly, Dunedin is the diocese located furtherest in geographical distance from Rome.  Thus it can be said that the catholic faith did reach the 'ends of the earth,' as attested to by those who are buried here.

The cemetery is still in use.  The church is used intermittently, for christenings, weddings, occasional burials, and  community celebrations.  The cemetery and church are maintained by the local population, sadly much reduced in number from the heydays of the gold mining era. The permanent population is less than 10.

Your comments about this portrayal are welcome, as are corrections to any of the information contained in it. It is known that some persons were buried here but of which no record remains.  Information about them would be particularly welcomed.  Thank you.

The author can be contacted by email to

  Please enjoy your stay.