Site Excavation


A section of the East Perth Cemetery was once located within the Perth Girls School Precinct. It was closed for burials in 1916 and neglected for several years before being developed. Out of respect for those buried there and their relatives, it has been deemed appropriate to transfer those burials to Karrakatta Cemetery prior to redevelopment. More information can be found below, for any other questions please contact us via email on or by phone on 1800 317 353.

Any burials identified will be exhumed from the land and reinterred at Karrakatta, where a section of land adjacent to the Presbyterian section of cemetery has been reserved.

There are no surviving records of who and how may burials are in this specific part of the East Perth Cemeteries, however we know that members of the Presbyterian and Chinese communities were buried there. During the mid-20th century remediation, any existing headstones at the time were relocated across Plain Street to the sections of the East Perth Cemetery maintained by the National Trust. As part of the relocation project, these headstones will be matched to the reinterred graves at Karakatta Cemetery wherever possible.

The remains will first be cleaned and stabilised in preparation for further anthropological to produce a biological profile for each individual. The profile involves (where possible) estimating age at death, biological sex, stature and ethnicity based on skeletal morphology. Any indicators of pathology, disease and trauma are also recorded. This also assists towards confirmation of individual identifications made from burial furniture such as coffin plates, gravestones, engraved jewellery that may be recovered during excavations.

Out of respect for the deceased and any potential living relatives, and to minimise disruption to the excavation process, the site will not be open to the public.

Human remains will be stored in custom designed individual conservation grade boxes to be located within a secure and monitored facility until they are ready for reburial at Karrakatta Cemetery

All individuals exhumed from 20 Bronte Street will be reinterred in an area to be known as the East Perth Cemeteries Memorial Garden located within the Karrakatta cemetery. A record of the location of each burial will be kept in the cemetery’s burial register.

Personal items such as rings, necklaces, watches and glasses found with a burial will be cleaned, photographed and reburied with their associated skeletal remains.

Coffins, coffin furniture and any other artefacts relating to the burial process will be catalogued prior to being transferred to the National Trust for further investigation. The material will be studied by the National Trust to help gain a better understanding of life and burial practice in nineteenth century Western Australia.

Please contact the National Trust if you believe you have a relative buried in the cemetery; they are interested in any photographs or stories that you may have. If you are directly related to an identified individual you are entitled to a copy of the associated report produced for that person.

Time and financial constraints mean it is not possible to perform the required DNA matching of human remains to living relatives.

If you have any information relating to the Presbyterian or Chinese sections of the East Perth Cemeteries within the development site, or anyone buried there, please contact the National Trust at or (08) 9321 6088.

The excavation and analysis teams comprise dedicated and professional staff who show the utmost respect to deceased individuals and their relatives. Each burial will be excavated as a single unit that will then be analysed as a single individual. Each individual person recovered will be reburied at Karrakatta Cemetery in their own ossuary box with small personal possessions.

A specialist team of archaeologists and forensic anthropologists will be responsible undertaking the fieldwork and post-excavation analysis of the remains.

Updates of the excavations will be published online. A summary of excavation results will be published on the website after conclusion of the fieldwork. A final report summary will be provided to the Minister for Local Government after all human remains have been reburied