I have to admit that I have a particular fascination with historical cemeteries. Nothing macabre mind you, I just have a special appreciation for their place in history and the unique opportunities that they offer for historical research.
One cemetery that is a particular favourite of mine is St John’s Cemetery at Parramatta in Sydney’s west. St John’s is actually the oldest cemetery in Australia, established in 1790, and it includes the graves of many of our First Fleeters and early pioneers, including a number of my ancestors…
- Isaac Augustus Mobbs (1851-1938)
- Edith Mary Mobbs (nee Crabbe) (1852-1946)
- Mary Ann Tunks (1824-1824)
- Sarah Tomlinson (nee Lester) (abt 1780-1837)
- Mary Martin (nee Randall) (1793-1857)
- John Martin (1757-1837)
- Mary Ann Bowerman (nee Martin) (1822-1870)
- George Best (1758-1836)
- Martha Best (nee Chamberlain) (1778-1833)
- George Best (1801-1823)
- Sarah Pye (nee Best) (1809-1882)
- William Best (1816-1902)
- Susan Best (nee Gilbert) (1822-1865)
- Hannah Carter (nee Best) (1851-1927)
- Gwendoline Best (1888-1897)
- Robert Roy Best (1886-1904)
- Vera Best (1882-1913)
- Robert Holt Best (1856-1933)
- Emily Jane Best (nee Luke) (1856-1935)
- Hilary Susan Best (1884-1950)
And probably many more to add. I still have quite a lot of research to do and will visit again on my next trip to Sydney.
St John’s is located right on the edge of the Parramatta CBD. It is quite a strange experience visiting the cemetery as it is surrounded by tall apartment blocks and retail buildings. It is well worth a wander around and certainly isn’t the same bushwhacking experience as visiting St Paul’s at nearby Carlingford. While doing some research today, I also found a link to ghost tours of St John’s operated by Past Times Tours – http://www.paranormalaustralia.com/tours/tourbones.html.