Primary historical records for Deadmans Gully Cemetery are scant. Its origins lie in the great Mount Alexander alluvial goldrush of 1851-54. Like other small cemeteries linked to this rush, the Deadmans Gully Cemetery would have closed c.1857. The cemetery is situated on a benched area, on the southern side of Deadmans Gully. Gold seekers, in the frenzy for gold, chose a convenient patch of ground where gold was unlikely to be found, but one which was totally unsuitable for digging graves and hygiene.
The Deadmans Gully Cemetery is of historical, archaeological and scientific importance to the State of Victoria.
The Deadmans Gully Cemetery is historically important due to its association with a key event in Victoria's history and a defining moment in the development of Australia's character and culture. The cemetery is associated with the first significant gold rush to the district.
The Deadmans Gully Cemetery is historically and scientifically important as a very rare artefact of Victoria's greatest gold rush. A comprehensive archaeological survey of the Castlemaine district undertaken in 1989 concluded that 'because of the ephemeral nature of structures and technology (predominantly, timber and human sweat) employed in the early gold-rush days there is little physical evidence of the intensity of activity and cathartic social experience sustained by the study area during the rush years'. The significance of this site is also derived from its setting: the cemetery overlooking the head of the Golden Gully, the goldfield's richest gold bearing lead.