Osmond Gilles Grave Restoration
Osmond Gilles (1788-1866), widely known as ‘O.G.’, was one of the most significant and colourful of the early South Australian colonists. Prior to coming to South Australia he had been a merchant in Hamburg from 1816-1833; during this time he married Patience Oakden, who died without issue and he did not remarry.
Although a controversial figure, with a quick temper when excited or provoked, Gilles was highly regarded for his generosity in aiding the establishment of numerous churches, cultural societies and charitable institutions. He also subscribed to Special Surveys beyond city limits, is credited with encouraging Germans to settle and facilitated the development of early industries. Prior to arrival he was responsible with others for securing the Adelaide parklands, which are enjoyed by all today. Many sites in South Australia bear his name, including the suburb of Glen Osmond, Gilles Street, Gilles Plains and O.G. Road, to name just a few.
He died in September 1866 and was buried in West Terrace Cemetery. His obituary in The Adelaide Observer described him as ‘one of our oldest and best known colonists … [whose] name … is so intimately connected with the history of the colony from its foundation’. It further commented that ‘Mr. Gilles’s strongest and most enduring tie to the world was his benevolence’.
Gilles’ grave is in a sad state of neglect and in urgent need of conservation and restoration. He had no descendants, so public donation is required. As an historically significant monument, work will be done in accordance with the report by the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority (ACA) heritage consultant. ACA is supporting the project. The estimated cost of the works is $30,000.
The National Trust and the Burnside Historical Society have launched an appeal to support restoration of the grave.
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