The district was first inhabited by the aborigines of the Wathaurong tribe who had corroboree grounds where the Methodist Church was later built and around the water holes, known as McLeod’s Waterholes. Remains of these original inhabitants are interred at this cemetery.
As men made money from the gold rushes, many sought to invest in land and during the mid 1850’s much of the land on the Bellarine Peninsula was sold and settlers came to the area. Farmers began to work the land and goods such as onions, wheat, oats, barley, hay, potatoes and orchards were very productive. The Bellarine Peninsula become known as “The Granary of the Colony”
The earliest existing burial register give the first burial in the cemetery as 1861 but it appears that the secretary attempted to trace known burials as far back as 1855 and there are records, at the Government Statist of burials in 1854. The Cemetery was originally known as Old Bellarine Cemetery.
In 1891 the United Services Home was built at Drysdale to cater for aged and infirmed soldiers and sailors of the Imperial and Colonial services, residing in Victoria for not less than five years, who had rendered good and gallant service to their Queen and country and were now incapable of earning a living. A special section of the cemetery was set aside for their burials. When a veteran died the coffin was covered with a union flag and a firing party from the Queenscliff Fort marched with arms reversed, fired three volleys over the grave and the trumpeter sounded the Last Post.
The Gange family grave in Clifton Springs is listed as a heritage site and is located near 9A Gange Court and 26 Wintersun Court Clifton Springs. Thomas Mitchell Gange was granted a parcel of land in the mid 1860’s by the Drysdale family of Coryule for whom he had worked for a number of years. The headstone commemorates his passing in 1868 and also contains the remains of his wife in 1882 and their 2 children in 1848 and 1855.1986- Shire of Bellarine took over the administration of the Cemetery.
1986- Shire of Bellarine took over the administration of the Cemetery.
1995- 1 July Geelong Cemeteries Trust took over the administration of the Cemetery.
2012- On 19 November 2012 the Geelong Cemeteries Trust held a public meeting to discuss the future plans for the Cemeteries on the Bellarine Peninsula. At this meeting there was no mention of the rumour circulating the area in relation to development of the untouched land reserved for the expansion of the Cemetery.
In the Drysdale Clifton Springs Structure Plan it was suggested that the untouched half of the Drysdale Cemetery of around 10 acres in size could be used for development. The CoGG had apparently rezoned the land for subdivision. Through spirited engagement the community asked for it to be retained as Cemetery land. The Geelong Cemeteries Trust agreed that it should remain as Cemetery land and created a plan for the second half situated on the corner of Oakden and Beacon Point Roads in Clifton Springs.