List of Burials (Alphabetical Order) Production Notes Cemetery Plans Transfers to/from Other Cemeteries The Fosters Contact us re Cemetery
Devonshire Cemetery in 1932
Each entry on the burial list has a link to a separate page for that person which details all of the information which I have gathered for that person. A list of all references used in compiling the information is shown on the "Production Notes" page, accessible from the link at the top of this page. The references list may need to be consulted when viewing the "person" page as the burial list contains details of the source(s) used to obtain the information gathered about the person.
It is worth reading the page about the work of the Fosters, which is also accessible from the link at the top of this page. This couple did a great deal of work to help save details of many of the people buried in Devonshire Street Cemetery. I have created an alphabetic index of the people whose epitaphs appear in A G Foster's Epitaph Book.
Keith A. Johnson and Malcolm R. Sainty also did a great deal of work to help save details of many of the people buried in the cemetery. The pair provide much information about the cemetery and burials therein in their book, Sydney Burial Ground 1819 to 1901.2 The book also includes details of of epitaphs carved on more than 2,800 monuments in the cemetery. The information was transcribed by Johnson and Sainty in 1969-1970. I have created an index of the transcriptions.
Beyond the book by Johnson and Sainty, much has been written about the Devonshire Street cemetery, which was located adjacent to Devonshire and Elizabeth Streets, Sydney. The site was proclaimed for use as a cemetery from 29 January 1920, however there were a few burials prior to the proclaimation date.
The Sydney Gazette of 29 January 1820 printed the proclaimation:
...the new Burial Ground at the Brickfields, having undergone the Ceremony of Consecration, is henceforth to be used exclusively as the Place of Interment by the Inhabitants of Sydney and its Neighbourhood. And the former Burial Ground, situated within the Town of Sydney, having in Consequence of the Opening of the New Burial Ground, according to the Ceremonies of the Church of England, been securely shut up, by the Gate being closed, barred, and locked, so as to preclude all Access thereto, unless on Occasions of Necessity such as shall be authorised by the Assistant Chaplain at Sydney, it is hereby notified, ordered, and directed, that no Person or Persons shall enter the said Ground without obtaining such Permission from the Assistant Chaplain.1
The land containing the cemetery was resumed in 1901 to make way for the expansion of Central Railway Station. Johnson and Sainty note that "more than 30,000 remains were uncovered at the time of resumption of the cemetery. The total number buried between 1819 and 1888 will never be known with certainty. As separate interment registers do not appear to have been maintained, those of the city parishes of the relevant denomination should be consulted to ascertain if they record the deceased that are unidentified."3
At the Australian Cemeteries Index (ACI) site, Wayne Hill has contributed details of more than 6,800 of the 6,872 burials detailed for Devonshire Street cemetery. That site is a free internet site, dedicated to recording burials at Australian cemeteries.
It should be noted that some of the entries on my list represent "memorials" for people not buried at Devonshire Street, since people sometimes added the names of loved ones, not buried at Devonshire Street, to a headstone for a person who was buried at Devonshire Street. Where "memorial" stones are identified, the relevant name on the list will indicate this fact.
According to the burial list which I have produced the last burial took place on 6 February 1888.
I believe that my list is the most comprehensive single list produced to date for Devonshire Street Cemetery and that it provides a starting point for others to submit details of burials for people at Devonshire Street which are not included on the list. A form to submit details or queries is provided on the "Contact" page. A link is provided on the menu at the top of this page. Of course, evidence will be required to support the contention that the burial took place at Devonshire Street cemetery.
There are sure to be changes and additions to the list as new information comes to hand. If you make a note of the update date at the bottom of the list of burials, you will be able to see, on a later visit, whether it has been updated.
I have always thought of family history research being similar to doing a jig-saw puzzle. We look for pieces to place into the incomplete puzzle. Sometimes these pieces are easily discovered. Sometimes they take some looking for. And sometimes, when we have put into place all of the pieces to hand, we realise that there are some "missing" pieces, which we hope to find in the bottom of the cupboard, when we have time to look for them.
I hope that this list assists you in finding some of the pieces for your family history puzzle.
1. Government and General Orders. (1820, January 29). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, p. 1. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
2. Sydney Burial Ground 1819 to 1901 by Keith A Johnson and Malcolm R Sainty, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 2001.
3. Ibid, p.25.
Devonshire Cemetery before 1901
*Last updated 11 June 2021