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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 3. March 19 1968

Hostel may stand on cemetery site

page 3

Hostel may stand on cemetery site

Proposed site for new student hostel.

Proposed site for new student hostel.

The Mount Street Cemetery bordering the University may become the site of a new student hostel.

The hostel, under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church, would cater for about 100 students. It has not yet been decided whether it would accomodate males or females—or both.

Although it is hoped that Staffing will consist mainly of cleryman, possibly Dominican Fathers, as in a similar hostel in Dunedin, it will be undenominational.

Finance for construction will come from the hostel committee's share of funds raised by last year's Halls of Residence Appeal, and from Government subsidies and private bequests.

Definite plans for the hostel area are still uncertain. As Mr. J. B. O'Regan, chairman of the committee, said: "Problems are legion."

The main problem is the disturbing of graves Under the Cemeteries Act, all relatives of the people interred in cemeteries must give their consent before graves can be disturbed.

As some of these graves date back to the 1840s, it is obviously impracticable in the ease of Mount Street.

A three-acre plot was originally granted by the government and held in trust by the Roman Catholic Church. It was then given to the Archbishop of Wellington for a burial ground.

In 1955 authority was given to the Archbishop to transfer part of it to the University— the area on which the Student Union building now stands.

About the same time access from Mount Street to Kelburn Parade was ceded to the City Council. The cemetery now has an area of one acre 23.7 perches.

Many of Wellington's leading citizens are buried there, although there has not been a burial in the last 20 years.

One of the best-known is Father O'Reilly, Wellington's first priest. He lived in a little adobe presbytery in Mount Street for almost 30 years after he celebrated his first Mass on February 5, 1843.

It is planned to start removing graves during the next long vacation.

However this will depend on the response from the relatives of those buried in the cemetery.