During the early years of online family history research, one of my go-to websites was Ian Marr’s Cemeteries of SW Victoria. For around twenty years I relied on Ian’s site to find where my Western District family were buried and like many other was grateful for the time Ian spent photographing headstones and then compiling them into indexes.
Ian even produced CDs of his indexes and then a USB for access to the larger cemeteries such as Hamilton and Portland. I purchased both and would use them in conjunction with the website when I needed a quick look-up. When I started Western District Families, I was able to link through to Ian’s site for some of my posts. It was while testing a link last year, I discovered the Cemeteries of SW Victoria website was no longer.
It was sad to see it go after all the work Ian put into it and I was left wondering how I was going to do without it. Then I remembered the National Library of Australia’s Australian Web Archive, a part of the Trove website. The archive grew out of what was called Pandora, a collection of selected websites with Australian content. In recent years, the archive has expanded to include all website domains ending in .au. Annually, the websites are copied to the archive as they appear at that time.
Sure enough Cemeteries of SW Victoria has been archived. To access the site follow the link
Once at Trove, you can navigate the Cemeteries of SW Victoria website in just the same you would have when it was a live website.
Of course, if you didn’t already have a USB with the larger cemeteries you will not be able to access those, however, you can now find the Hamilton Cemetery and the Warrnambool Cemetery online. Also, Carol’s Headstone Photographs site has lists of headstones at some of the other cemeteries on the Cemeteries of SW Victoria USB such as Camperdown.
When you do a Trove search you will notice categories along the top of the results page. Among those categories is “Websites” and that is how you can access the Australian Web Archive. It’s worth clicking on “Websites” as well as the other categories such as “Magazines and Newsletters” because there is more to Trove than newspapers and you never know what you might find.
The great thing about the Australian Website Archive is information from Australian sites won’t be lost. I was delighted to be approached by the State Library of Victoria in 2015, requesting permission to copy Western District Families for the archive when it was known as Pandora. Now each September, WDF is copied and I know that no matter what happens, WDF will live on within the Australian Web Archive and ten years of work on WDF won’t be for nothing.