ACT Heritage Library Manuscript Collection

HMSS 0329 Colverwell Graves Research Papers

Scope and Content Notes

Call Number

HMSS 0329


Colverwell Graves Research Papers

Date Range



0.09m  (1 manuscript box)

Access Conditions


Copying Conditions

with attribution

Related Collections


Colin McAlister is a retired public servant whose main area of work was social policy and administration.  His main hobby is bushwalking, including to places of historical significants in and around the ACT.

In May 2004, Colin led a walk in the Kowen Forest area in May 2004 for the National Parks Association (ACT).  The group visited the Colverwell Family.  The cemetery contains the oldest marked graves in the ACT; the earliest being 1837.

McAlister, and other walkers on the day, were concerned that the inscriptions on head and footstones were indistinct or indecipherable.

This walked marked the beginning of more than 12 months research and lobbying by McAlister, to have the headstones preserved.  It culminated in ACT Heritage assisted the former ACT Forests in the restoration of the Colverwell Graves site in 2005. Work included restoring the head and footstones into an upright position, restoration of the surrounding post and rail fence and installation of new stock proof fence and interpretative signage and opened the site to the public.

McAlister also authored a book published by the National Parks Association ACT in 2007 detailing the history of the site. Twelve Historic Sites in the Glenburn and Burbon areas of the Kowen Forest : Australian Capital Territory  (link to PDF).

This collection comprises:

  • one file of correspondence between McAlister and heritage/historical workers in the ACT and Queanbeyan, copies of research notes and documents used in research, letters to the editor of the Canberra Times and articles written for local journals by McAlister
  • two compact discs of photographs - 1 disc of black and white photographs of the memorials from the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage; 1 disc of colour photographs of the memorials and cememtery taken by Max Lawrence in June 2004.