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Hobart’s Hutchins School to exhume historic graves unearthed by construction

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Police were called to the construction site after the remains were found. Image / Pulse

The Hutchins School in Hobart will begin exhuming remains on its campus today, following the discovery of human graves during construction works last month.

Pulse revealed in March that forensic investigators were called to the school after remains, believed to be from the early-1800s, were found.


The site beneath the construction zone was previously part of the Queenborough Cemetery, which was meant to have relocated all bodies when it closed in 1934.

Hutchins Principal Dr Rob McEwan said approval had been granted from the Director of Public Health to exhume the remains, following advice from the Coroner’s Office, Tasmania Police and the Regulator for Burials and Cremations.

The former Queenborough Cemetery sits underneath the current Hutchins School campus. Image / Pulse

He said an archaeologist will oversee the process to “ensure all remains are treated with utmost respect and dignity”.

“Where remains can be identified, there will be a public process to attempt to engage descendants,” McEwan said in a letter to parents.

Hutchins Principal Dr Rob McEwan

“As the number of gravesites not previously exhumed in 1961 remains unknown, it is difficult to suggest the duration of the archaeological work.”

Site security will be strictly maintained, with privacy screens and tents now erected around the excavation site to “protect students and staff from scenes that may be confronting”.


He said the school was committed to re-interring the remains in a public cemetery and is currently discussing a permanent memorial with Cornelian Bay Cemetery and Hobart City Council.

“The school recognises that the exhumation process may be upsetting for some and will provide support as required,” McEwan said.

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