St David's Park
St David's Park, Hobart, was the city's first cemetery and dates from the beginning of European settlement in 1804. Information posted on site explains that it was called St David's Cemetery as a mark of respect to the memory of the Colony's founding Lt Governor, Lt Col David Collins, who is buried here with many other first settlers.
It continues: "The site was selected because of its discreet distance from the camp, and its natural beauty. In the 1820s it was described as 'a place of real beauty and rare seclusion' crossed by two crystal streams with fine old blackwood trees dotted through the groves of wattle on the high ground. By the 1830s it had become neglected, and was surrounded by the rapidly spreading town. It was not closed until 1872, by which time it has become 'an odious wilderness' of weed-choked bracken and toppled headstones.
"After it was closed it became a haunt for 'undesirable characters'; some with strong nerves evaded the police by hiding in collapsed graves. In 1919 it was handed over to the City Council to be used as a recreation ground. A register compiled at this time shows that at least 900 people were once buried here. Some were reburied at Cornelian Bay, most were allowed to sleep on under the now carefully-tended gardens and lawns."
Joe Sharman visited the site and photographed all visible inscriptions in October 2011. Joe says that some headstones remain in situ in one section of the park while many others have been mounted on a series of memorial walls (see picture above). Naturally, after such a passage of time, many of the early inscriptions are now somewhat difficult to decipher but this task was undertaken by Roma Waldron who has compiled the list of inscriptions for this cemetery. That list was then then researched by Jean McDonell with reference to the Tasmanian Pioneer Index of births, deaths and marriages for additional information.
St David's Park entrance is on the corner of Davey Street and Sandy Bay Road, Hobart. Lat -42.886211, Long 147.328616
St David's Park is maintained by Hobart City Council. For further information contact Council at GPO Box 503, Hobart Tas 7001; phone 03 6238 2711; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
11 Dec 2011
2 Oct 2011
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