Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Taphophile Tragics

St Johns cemetery was established on the outskirts of Parramatta as a general burial ground for all denominations. Formerly the Parramatta stock paddock, it is the oldest existing European burial ground in Australia, the first interment being James Magee, a convict’s child, buried 31 January 1790. It contains the remains of notable persons associated with the foundation of the colony and many graves of those identified as having arrived with the First Fleet. There were ten burials in the cemetery by the end of 1790 and a further 67 in 1791.

I spent a while trying to find the notable graves listed in the guide which I had downloaded before my visit but had limited success. Their map was very difficult to follow and I wasn't sure that some of graves are still marked. I'll show you those that I did find over the next few weeks.

Its a really interesting little place and a surprise to find, located as it is next to a massive Westfield complex and surrounded by apartments and light industry. Well worth a visit but I'd recommend getting yourself onto a guided tour. Not sure who runs them, probably the Parramatta Historic Society, but the Parramatta Visitors Centre or the St John's Cathedral would know.

I gather the cemetery fell into disrepair at some stage. Its good to see that its now being well cared for.

This will show you its location, hemmed in by modern development just across from the rail line in Parramatta.


Jim said...

I've driven past this often but never stopped.

Julie said...

ahh ... I have read of this place and its treasures. I like to see those council workers and their mowers!

I will watch for your future posts and then go out for my own visit later in this year.

I think Samuel Marsden is out there, too. They cannot knock this down without immense fight. Even Frank Westfield cannot do this. I bet he would love to though.

Plots in NSW are held in perpetuity unless there is a government bill enacted over time.

Gemma Wiseman said...

This is like a fragile sanctuary defying time and the artificialities of progress! Amazing post!

hamilton said...

it has become a not so peaceful resting place for these poor souls who had endured so much just to get there.

hamilton said...

and by that I meant, Australia, not a grave :)

Nicola Carpenter said...

What a great looking cememtery. I look forward to your posts in the weeks to come.

Herding Cats

Francisca said...

Knowing how jittery the Chinese are about cemeteries (subject of my post), it's suprising to see this little one completely surrounded by residential as well as retail buildings.

CaT said...

i actually like it when the grass is up high around the graves. looks so much nicer, dont you think?