Mid North Coast Pioneers - Newcastle to Lismore and beyond

St. John's Cemetery, Parramatta, NSW

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St. John's Cemetery, Parramatta, NSW

Extracts from “The Parramatta Cemeteries - St John's" by Judith Dunn of the Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991)

St John’s Cemetery, the oldest existing European burial ground in Australia, was established on the southern outskirts of the Rose Hill settlement in 1790. There were ten burials in the cemetery by the end of 1790 and a further 67 in 1791.

The death of Henry Edward Dodd, 28.1.1791, approximately one year after the first burial in the cemetery, has given Parramatta two important firsts. Dodd was Superintendent of convicts employed in cultivation at Rose Hill and his was the first public funeral in the colony. His headstone is the earliest in situ in Australia. It was an indication of the esteem in which Henry Dodd was held that when the colony was facing famine, a headstone was provided. It simply inscribed, H. E. Dodd 1791.

A Government Order dated Saturday 11 May 1811 stated:

". . . It being a sacred Duty incumbent on All, to guard and protect the Remains of their deceased Friends from every unnecessary Exposure, it hence becomes necessary that the several Consecrated Burial Grounds should be speedily inclosed in a decent manner."

The inhabitants of Parramatta began an Enclosure Fund in accordance with the government order. The resulting ditch and fence cost £82-4-7, a large sum of money in 1811, and indicating that it must have been a very substantial barrier as convict labour was fairly readily available. However, by the early 1820's the bank and ditch enclosure had fallen into decay and Governor Brisbane gave instructions for the brick wall, which still stands, to be built around the site.

Unfortunately, no records survive that detail any aspect of the construction of the wall; tile brickmaker, builder, and cost are all unknown. The bricks are, however, the typical apricot colour and similar in texture to other bricks known to have been made in Parramatta. Many of the bricks in the wall have impressed arrowhead marks. John Clew's bricks, distinguished by his elongated heart frog mark and by their speckled markings due to impurities in the clay, were subsequently used to repair the walls. He had a particular affinity for the cemetery and its wall and when dying, requested he be buried "as close to his beloved brick wall as possible", His grave is alongside the northern boundary.

From the earliest years to late Victorian times the cemetery has seen a huge variety of funerals from the poorest to the most showy and elaborate. Both local and Sydney papers prove a valuable source of information for funeral services and customs of the times. The funeral of D'Arcy Wentworth Esquire took from one o'clock until four o'clock to wend its way from Homebush to the graveside. The Reverend Samuel Marsden was buried "in his own churchyard at Parramatta and upwards of sixty carriages formed the mourning procession.”

In the 1930's the cemetery records were destroyed by fire. Many early Australian church records no longer exist due to flood, fire, vermin or human neglect such as illustrated by the well known entry in a clergyman's wife's diary:

"The following day being wet, I put the girls to the task of cutting up the old church records as I have found the paper more suitable for the use of curling paper for the girls hair. "

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Given names Surname Sosa Birth Place Death Age Place Last change
Mary AMANET
Mary GILBERT
June 10, 1788231England, United Kingdom6February 21, 182719238Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
William Joseph BARNES
about 1861158Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia0January 21, 188313622Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Ann BEAN
Ann JAMES
November 12, 1789230London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom13March 11, 185416564Baulkham Hills, , New South Wales, Australia
Elizabeth BEAN
Elizabeth SHELLEY
December 31, 1782236Piccadilly, Greater London, England, United Kingdom0September 20, 187814195Sydney, , New South Wales, Australia
James Thomas John BEAN
before April 15, 1753266North Hayling, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom8April 19, 183918086Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Esther BECKET
Esther HENDLE
Esther JAMES
Esther TUCKWELL
5August 24, 1840179Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Ann DAVIS
Ann RICHARDS
Ann FOWLES
Ann WILLIAMS
Ann MOULDS
about 1773246St. George, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom8March 11, 185416581Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Florence Emily FULLAGAR
March 26, 18621570July 1, 18631561Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Francis Latham FULLAGAR
October 16, 1857162Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia0January 9, 188113823Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
George Thomas FULLAGAR
August 31, 1855164Marsfield, , New South Wales, Australia0February 3, 187914023Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
John FULLAGAR
calculated September 18481710December 9, 186615318Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
John FULLAGAR
John FULLAGHER
August 7, 1785234Maidstone, Kent, England, United Kingdom7August 7, 187514490Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Mary Esther FULLAGAR
May 20, 1842177New South Wales, Australia0between September 11, 1863 and September 13, 186315621Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Roy H George FULLAGAR
calculated April 1886133New South Wales, Australia0November 14, 18861330Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
William John FULLAGAR
March 28, 1816203Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia17August 8, 189412578Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Charlotte GILBERT
Charlotte BRIEN
May 6, 1814205Shoreditch, Somerset, England, United Kingdom11April 30, 186215747Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Hannah GILBERT
Hannah FULLAGAR
September 19, 1819200Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia6May 3, 185216732Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
John GILBERT
November 3, 1807212London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom0July 26, 186615358Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Maria GILBERT
Maria WILLIAMS
November 15, 1815204Shoreditch, Somerset, England, United Kingdom0January 25, 188313667North Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Samuel GILBERT
about 1788231England, United Kingdom6June 20, 187514487North Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Sarah GILBERT
Sarah TINDALE
January 4, 1818201Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia0November 13, 189112873Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Augustas Richard HOLLEBONE
August 16, 1807212Eastbourne, Sussex, England, United Kingdom7September 26, 187614369Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Mary JAMES
September 3, 1829190New South Wales, Australia0August 17, 184117811Castle Hill, , New South Wales, Australia
Samuel JAMES
about March 1784235Theydon Garnon, Essex, England, United Kingdom13March 6, 185516471New South Wales, Australia
Esther LATHAM
Esther LEADHAM
Esther FULLAGAR
about 1784235Lancashire, England, United Kingdom7September 27, 186115877Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Bridget LYNCH
Bridget GILBERT
calculated 1817202England, United Kingdom0April 19, 188613369Paddington, , New South Wales, Australia
Elizabeth MOULDS
November 15, 1836183Dural, , New South Wales, Australia0March 18, 18371820Dural, , New South Wales, Australia
Simon MOULDS
Simon MOULD
about 1776243Enfield, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom4June 17, 184317667Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
William SHELLEY
May 29, 1774245Hanley, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom0July 6, 181520441Parramatta, , New South Wales, Australia
Edwin WILLIAMS
September 10, 1810209England, United Kingdom0June 30, 189512484Petersham, , New South Wales, Australia