William Keane’s descendants have honoured his memory with a commemorative plaque at East Perth Cemeteries
Of the more than 10,000 people who were buried in the East Perth Cemeteries, only 800 grave markers remain. Since the closure of the cemeteries, the majority of the grave headstones and markers have been lost through decay, neglect, vandalism and well-intentioned ‘cleanups’.
Many genealogy detectives have traced a family connection to the colonial burial ground and some are choosing to commemorate their ancestors with a dedicated plaque installed on denominational fences throughout the cemeteries.
William Keane 1819–88
Among those buried at East Perth Cemeteries is William Keane who was born in Tipperary, Ireland, as the son of a weaver. After enlisting in the British Army at the age of 20, he was posted to several notable conflict zones including the Crimea, Turkey, Gibraltar, Corfu and the West Indies.
Following a discharge on medical grounds in 1856, he married Mary Delany in Birr, Offaly, Ireland, in June 1858. Sadly the marriage did not last as in 1858 William joined the Enrolled Pensioner Force and sailed from Plymouth to Fremantle aboard the convict ship, Edwin Fox with his younger sister or cousin, Mary. Mary later married John McCann, one of the convicts William had been guarding on the voyage.
William eventually remarried and, in 1884 in recognition of his service, was given a grant of 6 acres of land on what is now the corner of Boundary Road and South Street, Fremantle. Just four years later he died at the Colonial Hospital, Perth, after falling into a fire at his home.
William was buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery at East Perth and, like many others, his grave is unmarked and the precise location unknown.
Thanks to John and Maureen James, Mary Keane’s great-grandson and his wife, a plaque in memory of William Keane has been installed on a Roman Catholic boundary marker at the East Perth Cemeteries.
Do you have a connection to someone buried in East Perth Cemeteries?
Now there is a way you can commemorate those laid to rest in Perth’s first colonial burial site by purchasing a memorial plaque through the National Trust. The plaque is an opportunity to acknowledge individuals who, while buried there, do not have a grave marker. Learn more
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There are so many stories to uncover at East Perth Cemeteries! National Trust volunteers open the site every Sunday from 2.00 to 4.00 pm. Book your next visit online to explore this incredible heritage place.
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