Cypress St, Newstead. Google Maps.
1823 consecrated & first known burial
1906 closed to new burials other than relatives 1906
1929 last burial
1953 made available to Broadland House School & converted to sports ground.
On Sunday last, the Burial-ground of the Church of St. David was consecrated by the Rev. S. Marsden, Principal Chaplain of the Territory.-The Burial grounds at Port Dalrymple, as well as scites of ground for Burial-places at New Norfolk and Sorell Town, have also been consecrated by the Rev. Mr. Marsden.
Hobart Town Gazette, 8 March 1823
One’s attention is drawn to, and interest awakened in, the old cemeteries of Launceston by their probably being closed at the end of the year. The new cemetery at Can Villa will now be the burial place of all except the few who will be entitled to interment in the old cemeteries by virtue of interest in existing graves. A few days ago I went through the Anglican Cemetery in Cypress-street, off Elphin-road, and was much interested in reading the inscriptions on the older stones and some of the newer tombs have interest, too.
But to the tombs. “In memory of poor dear Henry.” Is this inscribed by a widow or sister? The deceased was son of a remarkable man–G A Robin son, “the black protector and pacificator of the aborigines of Van Diemen’s Land.” The son died in 1884, aged 60. There are two Archdeacons of Launceston buried here–the Venerable W H Brown, L.L.D, who died in 1877, and the Venerable Francis Hales, who died in 1900 Dr Brown’s life ran with more than three-quarters of the last century, he was born in 1800. Archdeacon Hales, who for 45 years was incumbent of Trinity Church, was 79 when ho died. Mrs Brown died in London in 1899, Mrs. Hales in Launceston in 1837. Here is the grave of an English baronet–Sir Frederick Hughes-who died in Tasmania (whither ho had gone for health) in 1889 aged 78. In one grave are buried two of the crew of the barque Corinth, and, curiously enough, both were natives of Dover, England. One Arthur J Walker aged 19, an apprentice, was accidentally drowned in the North Esk in 1887, the other, Arthur Hood, was accidentally killed on board. The stone bearing their names was erected by the officers and crew of their ship”. Ah, me! Here is the sleeping-place of Henry Isidore Rooke, whose quips and jokes I have heard and relished in the Legislative Council in by gone times He died in 1901 aged 56. You remember the old song, “The Mariner’s Grave.” The title-words mark the grave of father and son, who found a resting place more accessible and more easily identified than that of the seaman in the song. Here is the grave of the wife of Dr Brock, surgeon, Royal Navy who died in 1850, aged 35. And, with his mother, is buried Thomas Archer Brock, who died at Cloncurry (famed for its mines), Queensland, in 1885, aged 47. The cemetery contains a tomb of the Hentys, who left Launceston in 1831 and settled at Portland Victoria, becoming the first colonists of that State. The grave contains two infants–William, son of William and Matilda S. Henty, who died in 1838, aged l8 months, and a child who died in 1837, aged six months. These children died in historic years. In ’36 Batman and Fawkner founded Victoria, in ’37 Melbourne was named. Here is the grave of the father of an old acquaintance, the late Mr Justice Windeyer of Sydney, who himself died a few years ago at Bologna Italy. The tomb is thus inscribed: “In memory of Richard Windeyer of Sydney, barrister-at-law and member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales Born in London August 1806, died at Launceston, December 2nd 1817.” For some reason which I cannot explain the Henty and Windeyer graves are within the same enclosure. The last to be mentioned is the tomb of a martyr to civilisation–John Marsden-“who was cruelly murdered by the natives, September 11th 1828 aged 67.” Hawthorne savs “it is an old theme of satire, the falsehood and vanity of monumental eulogies.” Well, I was struck by the general simplicity and good sense of the inscriptions here. As the author of “Chippings with a Chisel” quaintly says in another place “the dead bodies have just been labelled lest their names should be forgotten at the resurrection.”
The Mercury, 2 September 1905
(From Our Special Correspondent.)
Sunday last was the last day upon which an interment could be made in any of the cemeteries within the city, and, for the future, all burials will be extra mural-if we may imagine the city of Launceston to be enclosed by walls. The Anglican cemetery, in Cypress-street, off the Elphin-road ; the Catholic cemetery, at Glen Dhu, Wellington-road ; the Presbyterian cemetery, in High street; and the general cemetery, in Charles-street, are all now closed, ex cept to relatives of persons already buried there–and the relationship has been defined by the Government. But, even these privileged interments will not be permitted after twenty years from the present dato. Some of those old cemeteries occupy fine sites. The Presbyterian one is in an elevated position, commanding an interesting view of a largo portion, of the city and its environs, and the Anglican cemetery is in the midst of a now fashionable locality, with a rapidly-growing population. The Catholic cemetery lies in a pleasant locality, just where the easiest ascent of Cataract Hill begins, and the Charles-street graveyard may be said to be right in the city, though on its confines. Now, in all likelihood, at some future date the speculator in land, or some Tasmanian Government, inspired by enterprise or utility, will make an attempt to have those homes of the dead turned to use for the living. If a land boom, such as swept Melbourne seventeen years ago, should burst upon Launceston, the land-jobber will certainly cast covetous eyes upon the old graveyard». Governments, as impersonal bodies, have not much sentiments, and if land is _ needed for public purposes, some Ministry, of the, perhaps, not distant future may order the poor, inoffensive dead in these cemeteries to “move on.” The Town-hall, Sydney, is built upon the site of a cemetery, so is the Queen Victoria Market at Melbourne, and only the other day the occupants of the Devonshire-street cemetery, in Sydney, were removed elsewhere, to mako room for a new railway station. The cremationist will, at once, rise, and beg to propose that interment be abolished, and space saved. But he will have a lot of sentiment and religious feeling to combat, to say nothing of the interests of the, casket-maker, the monumental sculptor, and the florist, who will not be easily wiped out.
The Mercury, 6 January 1906
The Cemeteries : There appears to be an impression current that the cemeteries in Launceston have now been closed. This is correct so far as the disposal of burial lots is concerned, but the cemeteries themselves are open, and will remain so. As all the burial lots have been disposed of, no more are available, but burials will, of course, continue to take place until the ground is taken up. The public are not and never will be precluded from visiting the cemeteries, and the impression that there are no sextons there and that it is therefore not necessary to pay for keeping graves in order is also erroneous. It is pointed out that even when the whole of the available ground is filled in sextons will continue to be in charge, and will look after the graves.
Daily Telegraph, 8 January 1906
Breaches of the Law Anticipating the establishment of a public cemetery at Carr Villa, and its being made ready for use, the State Parliament in 1902 passed a short act to amend the Cemeteries Act, 1865. This provided that, upon his being satisfied that Carr Villa provided sufficient means for interment, the Governor, by proclamation, should direct that all existing burial grounds within the city boundaries should be closed. This was done in 1905, and since that time it has not been lawful for burials, except under specified conditions, to be made at any of the cemeteries then in use, under a penalty of not less than five, or more than fifty pounds. Exception was made in the case where there was an exclusive right of interment in any vault or enclosure in which the husband, wife, parent, child, brother, or sister of any deceased person was buried, when application could be made to the Mayor of Launceston for permission for the burial there of such deceased person. But a definite time limit of twenty years was placed upon this concession, so that no permits of the kind could be granted after 1925.
Information has now reached the Town Hall authorities, however, that interments have been made at the Church of England cemetery in Cypress-street, without permission, and apparently in contravention of the law. The attention of the board controlling this cemetery has been drawn to the matter, but the secretary (Mr. Fred Lester) replied yesterday to the effect that although requests had been made for permission in some instances, the applicants had been informed definitely that the board had no discretion in the matter, and must refuse all such applications. Enquiry at the Town Hall yesterday indicated that while action would be taken only with extreme reluctance, the law must be observed, and that very serious notice would be taken of any violation of it. The responsibility rests upon anyone who buries, or causes to be buried, or permits or suffers to be buried any corpse or coffin contrary to the enactment.
The Examiner, 27 July 1929
CEMETERY RECORD OF EARLY NAMES
The old Cypress St. cemetery in Launceston which was opened in the 1820’s and where the last official burial took place in 1929, records the names of many well-known early settlers. Launceston’s first cemetery was an acre of ground where the Launceston Church Grammar School preparatory school in High St. now stands.
Although the oldest headstone in the Cypress St. Cemetery is dated 1811, it is thought that it may have been brought there from the High St. burial ground. Many of the headstones are now practically illegible, broken, or have been removed. Among those re moved was that of Dr. Jacob Mountgarrett, B.N., the first doctor to come to Van Die men’s Land. ” Dr. Mountgarrett arrived at Port Dalrymple with Col. Paterson, and died in Launceston in 1828 at the age of 55.
At the far end of the cemetery, near the big pine trees, is the grave of the Rev John Youl, the founder of the family in Tasmania, and the first resident clergyman in the north of Tasmania. Richard Pry, the educated Irish expatriate is also buried in Cypress St. cemetery. He was the father of the famous Sir Richard Dry, of Quamby, and of the Rev. William Dry, whose fine home, Mount Esk, St. Leonards, is still standing in perfect condition. David Rose, the Government stockkeeper from 1811, is also buried there. His house, Corra Linn, Relbia, is still standing, and is probably the oldest inhabited house in Tasmania.
Thomas Henty, father of the founder of Victoria, and great great grandfather of Senator Henty, a former Mayor of Launceston, also is buried there. He arrived from England 116 years ago with his seven sons. Unfortunately for Thomas Henty, he arrived with his consignment of pure Merino sheep, blood horses, and cattle just too late to be given a free grant of land, as Governor Arthur had just been ordered by the Colonial Secretary in London to discontinue the practice. Thomas Henty impetuously saddled one bf his blood horses, and rode straight through to Hobart to plead the importance of his claims for free land. He appealed in vain, but it is believed that he was the first man to ride a horse from Launceston to Hobart. He died in 1839.
It is estimated that more than 30,000 people were buried in the Cypress St. cemetery. However, Launceston’s first Mayor (Mr. W. S. Button), who died in 1876, was buried in the old Mulgrave St. Cemetery.
The Mercury, 7 March 1953
Old Cemetery To Become Park For Schoolchildren
The old Launceston cemetery known as the Launceston burial ground, in Cypress St., will be licensed to Broadland House School for conversion and use as a park for the school children. This was decided at the final sitting of the Church of England Synod at Hobart yesterday. The motion granting per mission to Broadland House to go ahead with the work was moved by the Church Advocate (Mr. D. IN. Chambers). The three clauses of the motion are:
- The headstones in the ground must be moved to suitable positions and properly looked after to preserve the sacred character of the ground.
- The board of Broadland House School be granted a permissive re vocable licence to use the land on condition that the board pay the cost of reconstruction and repairs from time to time.
- That no headstone be moved until the Diocesan Council is satisfied that reasonable notice has been given relatives, and that consideration has been given any objections.
The Church of England Diocesan Council recently agreed to the proposal and recommended the matter to Synod. Mr. Chambers explained that under the church constitution the cemetery could not be sold or leased. Therefore the only course left open to the church was to give Broadland House a “mere licence” over the area. This would give the authorities of Broadland House power to make necessary alterations to the area, while controls remained in the hands of the church. Canon L. S. Dudley, War den of Christ College, Hobart, and formerly Archdeacon of Launceston, said that by transferring administration of the area to Broadland House the cemetery would at least be kept in good order.
The Mercury, 18 September 1953