Camperdown Cemetery, New South Wales
Established 1849

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Production Notes

There were approximately 18,000 burials in Camperdown Cemetery between 1849 and 1948. Each entry in the list of burials is supported by evidence that the burial took place. Details of burials have been taken from the Camperdown Cemetery Burial Register from 1849 to 1853 and from Burial Application Forms from 1854 to 1948. Online records at the NSW Births Deaths and Marriages internet site and newspaper records at the Trove internet site have provided additional information.

For most burials, details entered in the list of burials include the burial number, name, age and date of death of the person. Other information is provided in the register entries and on the forms, (see example of burial form), but this information is usually not included on the web page, as the emphasis has been on creating a simple list of names of people buried in the cemetery. The inclusion of other information relating to the person could be useful and might be added later.

In 1856 the New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) was established.1 The internet site for the BDM can be referred to in order to check names but it seems that those transcribing the handwritten data from early registration applications wrestled with the same problems of deciphering handwriting and interpreting the spelling of names, as tendered by informants, as we did. As an example, take Abraham George Favenc, who died on 17 April 1855. An image of the burial form relating to his burial, (No. 4405), shows that "Favenc" is difficult to decipher. What is more, when one refers to the entry at BDM, reference 321/1855, which was created from the Camperdown records, since BDM was not in existence in 1855, it can be seen that the entry is for "William G Favenc."

Where there are spelling discrepancies in the spelling of names between BDM and the Camperdown records, the alternative is often shown in brackets. However we have often opted for the most likely spelling or have sought the correct spelling from other sources.

In the list of burials, form numbers beginning 'BN' relate to normal burials. Numbers beginning 'MN' relate to memorials placed in the cemetery, as the people referred to were not interred in Camperdown Cemetery. Numbers beginning 'RN' relate to remains of people who were re-interred in Camperdown. Numbers beginning 'XN' relate to remains of people for whom no burial form was issued, though the person may have appeared in the register.

When searching the list of names it would be worthwhile to use the "search" function of your internet browser to search for the surname you are looking for, because the entire page will be searched. For example, it is uncertain whether the person with burial number BN08714 is "Werry WOOTAN" or "Wootan WERRY." Since there is only one line in the alphabetical list for each person, searcing alphabetically for 'WERRY' will not find the person as he/she is listed under 'WOOTAN.'

The actual section of the cemetery in which a grave is located is only intermittently shown on the burial records. No actual grave number is shown on records that we have seen. The cemetery was divided into 56 sections. The cemetery area is now smaller than when burials were performed, as some of the cemetery area has been made into "Camperdown Memorial Rest Park." There is a Wikipedia article covering the cemetery, which provides details of the Rest Park.

A plan showing the original layout of the cemetery, overlaid with the section numbers, can be seen the "Cemetery Plans" page, which can be accessed from the top of this page.

A number of works have been written about the cemetery including those listed below.

Monthly guided tours of Camperdown Cemetery are conducted, current as at January 2017. Contact the co-ordinator for details.

Colin and Judi Choat

Note 1

It should be noted that the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) was only established in 1856. Before that, the Camperdown Cemetery Register and/or the burial forms were used by BDM to create the Registry entries. The following information appears on the Registry site

Compulsory civil registration began in 1856. In accordance with the governing Act, the NSW Government established a number of district registrars responsible for the compulsory registration of all births, deaths and marriages occurring in their district. Since then, there have been some changes in legislation and technology that have affected day-to-day practices, but the original approach to registration and the methodologies employed remain relatively unchanged...

...From 1788 to 1856 the only birth, death or marriage records kept in NSW were the registers maintained by the established churches. The Registry holds transcriptions of these early church records. Any surviving original registers are located in the NSW Archives.

Unfortunately, the extant records for this period are not comprehensive. Some ministers, missionaries and other authorised administrators kept records but not all were in a position to be this diligent. In addition many of the records contain inaccuracies and bad spelling. Distances to town centres, distrust of authority and lack of participation in formal church services contributed to the church registration system's inability to record adequately the details of all births, deaths and marriages that occurred in NSW..."