Coolgardie Cemetery

A great many of those buried at the cemetery were taken by successive outbreaks of typhoid fever. Others succumbed to mining accidents, thirst and alcoholism. And a good number ended their lives by their own hand.

Some notables interred at Coolgardie Cemetery include:

  • Ernest Giles, famous explorer;
  • Victor Streitch, geologist on the Lindsay Expedition;
  • Darcy Uhr explorer, drover, prospector and businessman;
  • Leo Beretta, noted goldfields cyclist;
  • James Moher, Western Australian drover; and
  • Adolphus F. Hill, brother of H.W. Hill of the Hill expedition of 1899-1900.

 

Ernest Giles' Tombstone - photo by Graham Howe

Ernest Giles’ Tombstone – photo by Graham Howe

 

Afghan cameleers played a significant role Coolgardie’s early history. One of the most important of these was cameleer and merchant Tagh Mohamed, whose body is buried at the rear of the main cemetery in the Muslim section. The inscription on the headstone is, ‘Died by the hand of an assassin at Coolgardie January 10th 1896 aged 37 years’.

From pages 40–41 of Legal Executions in Western Australia by Brian Purdue:

2 May 1896. Goulam Mahomet who shot Tagh Mohamet in the Mosque at Coolgardie during morning Prayer.

Faiz and Tagh Mohamet were the biggest camel owners in WA and also very successful businessmen, having mail contracts at Cue in 1894 and stores in Cue, Day Dawn, Mullewa, Geraldton, Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie and Esperance. They came from Quetta in Baluchistan (now known as West Pakistan), arriving in South Australia in about 1844 before coming to Western Australia in 1888.

On 10 January 1896 at four in the morning, the priests and Tagh were at prayer in the Mosque in Coolgardie when another Afghan named Sur Wah came to the Mosque. Sur Wah asked Tagh “What is the cause of the quarrel between you and Goulam?” Tagh replied “I never said anything about him since he came to the field. The fault is with him”.

Tagh Mahomet was kneeling facing west with his back to the door and Sur Wah was kneeling facing the door. Goulam came up behind Tagh and produced a revolver from either the pocket or the sleeve of a long coat he was wearing, and shot Tagh in the back. Tagh turned and looked at Goulam and fell back. Goulam left at once. He claimed he had been threatened by Tagh and got in first.

The trial was held at Coolgardie and Goulam Mahomet was hanged at Fremantle.

(A young man of twenty‑one years of age applied for the job of hangman’s assistant. He claimed he was strong and willing.)