This cemetery has been mistakenly referred to as the Hill End Cemetery in recent years, at no time has it ever been officially noted as such. The cemetery is located within the town boundary of Tambaroora. A lack of local history knowledge has seen its name mis-quoted.
The following is based on factual information taken from Government Gazettes, Maps, Crown Survey Plans, letters and newspapers of the day.
First Bark C of E Church with graves within the fence line
Click on the Images above to Enlarge
Holtermann Collection Images Courtesy of State Library of NSW
To understand the location of the Church of England(C of E) graveyard and eventual current general cemetery we must first look at the establishment of the C of E church.
October 1852 saw the appointment and arrival of the Reverend E.B. Proctor to Tambaroura, on the evening of the 19th October after evening service a meeting was held to formulate a plan for the erection of a church to be also used as a school during the week. At this
a committee was formed with the intent of procuring subscriptions towards the erection of the church building.
In October 1852 a deputation of C of E residents from Tambaroora requested to have land allocated for a church and school to be sited behind the Barracks (Commissioners Camp), also requested was the piece of land used as the burial ground which at that time had 10 interments. To date this burial grounds location has not conclusively been ascertained.
1854 saw a list of appropriations of land for religious purposes authorised, included was land allocated to the C of E for a church of 1 acre, a school of 2 roods and a parsonage of 2 roods.
The church was
in July 1854 on the current site of the general cemetery. The realization that the Tambaroora Goldfield was bigger than first thought may have seen those keen to see the establishment of the church and school question the suitability of the site behind the Barracks and revised the location requested and moved to a more stable area south of the main town area. Factors contributing to the move may have included:
- the land behind the barracks otherwise known as the commissioners camp was also the area that one of the first applications for the registration of a quartz vein was made.
- The area was also known as Samuels field or flat which could indicate that it was used to depasture stock prior to the local discovery of gold on the site.
- It was also a site re-visited on numerous occasions by miners with new discoveries being made.
The Crown Plan of the Colonial Gold Company's and W.C. Cole's Quartz Claims and Crushing Works near Tambaroura dated 1855 shows the location of the church at the southern end of the town on one of the tracks to Sofala (507)
. A more detailed Crown Plan of the 3 portions that were allocated shows the layout of the church, school and parsonage. Even though the appropriated land was surveyed, the position of the church, school and fence did not match the Crown Plans (508)
In 1859 Mr. Price, a Licenced Surveyor was issued instructions to undertake a survey of the layout of the town in preparation of it officially becoming a Town named Tambaroora. One of the Surveyors undertakings was to try and bring some sort of uniformity to the layout of the town from what was at the time a haphazard collection of buildings and roads. These would have included the C of E church and school buildings which had been in existence since 1854. Once his task had been completed notification appeared in the NSW Government Gazette of 1863, for
Lots 1, 2 and 3 of Section 16
for the use of the C of E.
The cemetery had its beginnings as the C of E church graveyard created around the same time as the opening of the C of E church in 1854. No area was officially allocated for a C of E cemetery but most likely it followed the long held tradition of including a church graveyard within the confines of the church perimeter, not long after the church opened interments started to appear. Eventually the graveyard occupied the area within the fence surrounding the church. The fence line shown below in the Plan at left is not indicative of the current fence line. The fence line may not have changed to conform with the surveyed parcel of land until after the C of E relocated their church in 1871 and the graveyard enlarged to accommodate the non denominational interments. The Sketch below at right shows the original position of the Church and fence line in relation to Lot 2 Section 16 which was the surveyed site noted in the 1863 Government Gazette.
The Plan on the left shows the position of the Bark Church and Fence Line before the Sections and Lots were Surveyed(509)
The Sketch on the right shows the design layout of Sections and Lots for the Town and the position of the C of E Church and Fence within what was to become Lot 2 Section 16(510)
Plans courtesy of the State Records NSW
The image below shows Section 16 on the 1859 Town Map and the land occupied by the Church of England, Lot One was allocated to the School, Lot 2 for the Church and Lot 3 for the Parsonage. The school can be seen annotated in Lot 1, the Church on Lot 2 can be seen surrounded by a fence, this was the original position of the Church. This has been confirmed by images of graves located within the vicinity of the Church. The aerial images below show the alignment of the graves prior to 1871-74 when the cemetery was unofficially changed to a General Cemetery and re-aligned to reflect the surveyed boundaries made by Surveyor Price in 1859.
Position of the Bark Church and Fence Line within Lot 2 Section 16 showing the layout of the School on Lot 1 of 2 roods, the Church on Lot 2 of 1 acre and the Parsonage on Lot 3 of 2 roods
Plan Courtesy of the State Records of NSW
Position of the Bark Church and Fence Line showing the change in alignment of the graves after 1871
Reproduced from the 1860 Survey Map overlaid on Google Earth Pro
The image above represents where the original church and graveyard were located in relation to the current cemetery. The largest red box is the outline of Lot 2 Section 16, Lot One was located to the north of Lot Two, Lot Three to the south of Lot Two was gazetted as the Parsonage. The red dashed line box and mimic'd by the solid red line box is the outline of the original fence line. The smaller red box within the fence line is the position of the bark C of E church, this remained the size of the cemetery up until at least 1872-73 when the Holtermann collection images at the top of the page were taken.
An aerial image of the general cemetery with an insert of the position of the original church graveyard in relation to the current cemetery. The alignment of the graves in the church graveyard differs from those of the later period when the graveyard became an all denominational cemetery circa 1874. The alignment of some graves within the earlier C of E graveyard are post 1872-73. This can be seen where the bark church was located, all graves within that area are post dated 1874.
1871 saw the church building re-locate to its new site at Lot 4 and 5 Section 2, the graveyard remained at its present location and eventually took on the roll as the area's unofficial general cemetery circa 1874.
Trustee's were appointed
Joseph James WALPOLE
Thomas Sheridan COOPER
for the C of E portion of the general cemetery, interestingly this coincided with the formation and tabling of the by-laws in parliament of the Hill End Municipal Council who may have assumed responsibility for the cemetery.
The decision to make it the general cemetery must have been a local one as the Bathurst Diocese were not aware of the change nor was there entries in the Government Gazettes to reflect the change from C of E dedicated land to that of a general cemetery. These changes did not take effect until 1951 when the cemetery was officially recognised.
was noted in 1876 as being the Sexton for the church and at the time was living at Lot 1 Section 21 which he had purchased in 1865, the Lot was located on the other side of Steele Street across from the cemetery.
Even though the land had been occupied by the C of E since 1854 it was not granted to the "United Church of England and Ireland" and its Trustee's until 1884 (174) (175) (176)
, the land usage was still noted as being for a school, church and parsonage, the same as for the 1863 NSW Government Gazette, but by then the church had already moved to its new location so in effect the grants were already obsolete when issued.
The first Trustee's documented and appointed for these Grants were:
Joseph James WALPOLE
Herbert James PATEN
(174) (175) (176)
After years of neglect the cemetery received some well deserved tender loving care,
community members rallied
to the task and in 1917 efforts were made to return the cemetery to its former state.
In 1929 a corporate trust from Bathurst undertook to rejuvenate the cemetery, it was not until after this activity that it was realised that the Trust had inadvertently cleaned the wrong cemetery, they had cleaned the Tambaroora general cemetery in the western part of Tambaroora which had been surveyed and dedicated in 1898. When this error had been realised representations were made to religious and political authorities over the cemeteries management and non denominational burials. One of which saw a delegation from Tambaroora and Hill End approach the Bishop of Bathurst regarding the
ongoing management of the Cemetery
, it was at this meeting that it was found that the cemetery was not in fact a dedicated cemetery of any denomination, having never being gazetted for that purpose. The Bishop of Bathurst stated that other denominations would continue to be interred in the cemetery but it was to be understood that the church still had
control of the land
In 1944 at the instigation of Mr. Harry Walpole of Hill End an exchange of correspondence between Members of State Parliament sought to put to an end the ongoing issue of control of the Cemetery being used by the residents of both Tambaroora and Hill End.
A letter from the Minister of Lands Mr. J.M. Tully to the Minister of Conservation the Hon. W.F. Dunn M.L.A., reads:
24 January 1945
Dear M. Dunn,
With reference to your personal representations on behalf of Mr. Harry Walpole of Hill End regarding the Cemetery at Hill End and Tambaroora which it is desired to have resumed and proclaimed as a General Cemetery to be placed under the control of chosen trustees, I shall have inquiries made into the matter and let you have further advice.
Minister of Lands (512)
Again on the 14 Feb 1945 the Minister of Lands Mr. Tully wrote to the Minister of Conservation Mr. Dunn:
14 FEB 1945
Dear Mr. Dunn,
With reference to your personal representations to me on behalf of Mr. Harry Walpole of Hill End, relative to his request that the area used as a general burial ground at Hill End and Tambaroora be formally established as a general cemetery, I desire to inform you that the area referred to is allotment 1, 2 and 3 of section 16, Town of Tambaroora, which were dedicated on the 16th July 1863, for Church of England Church, School and Parsonage. These Allotments have for the past 70 years been used as burial ground for all denominations excepting Roman Catholic.
In view, however, of certain representations made to my Department, the Church of England Authorities have been asked as to whether that would concur in the dedication referred to being revoked and the area being reserved as a General Cemetery and placed under the control of an appropriate trust.
The matter will be further considered on receipt of reply from the Church of England Authorities.
J.M. Tully (512)
It is worth noting in the letter above that the Minister mentions that the cemetery has "for the past 70 years been used as burial ground for all denominations
", this corresponds approximately to the period that the Church of England Church moved to its new location on Lot 4 and 5 of Section 2 nearer the centre of town in 1871. The local community in the 1870's may have thought that with the departure of the Church of England Church from the site, its authority over the area was reduced, this may have seen the introduction of all denomination burials without realising it was still dedicated Church of England land. I should mention here that up until at least when the photographs of the C of E bark Church in the Holtermann Collection were taken the perimeter fence of the Church and graveyard was still in its original position as per the town maps drawn by the surveyors in 1859.
A letter to Harry Walpole from the Minister of Conservation Mr. Dunn dated the 5th April 1945 gave an update on progress being made to the recognization of the cemetery:
5th April 1945
On my return to Sydney from my Electorate where I spent in al l12 days, I looked up the case in regard to the Hill End Cemetery.
I found that I had made strong representations to my colleague Mr. J.M. Tully, Minister of Lands, and that I had received a reply from him under date of 14th February setting out the position. This letter I sent to you on the 15th February.
It was stated in the letter from the Minister of Lands that in view of certain representations made to his Department, the Church of England authorities have been asked as to whether they would concur in the dedication referred to being revoked and the area being reserved as a general cemetery and placed under the control of an appropriate Trust.
An officer in the Lands Department informed me that the matter is held up until a final reply is received from the Church of England authorities.
As far as I can find out, the Church of England authorities have almost freehold title over the area in question and until such time as they agree to the revocation of the reserve the Lands Department is not able to deal with it.
I shall keep in touch with the Lands Department and immediately I have some further information, I shall write to you again.
With kind regards,
Mr. T. Allsop was tasked with ascertaining if Lots 4 and 5 adjoining Lot 3 the Parsonage Lot would be suitable for burial purposes.
He wrote to Harry Walpole on the 24 May 1945:
In connection with the proposed general cemetery at Tambaroora, I have been asked to report from local knowledge is possible as to the suitability of Lots 4 and 5 Sec.16, for burial purposes. The allotments adjoin the C. of E. Parsonage site, and are shown on sketch below. I do not remember whether they are suitable for graves, but thought that you would know and let me have your opinion.
If you consider that the lots are suitable for burial purposes I can report accordingly, but if you say that they are not suitable the matter will have to wait until such time as I can get out that way.
The allotments have been suggested as an alternative to resumption and dedication of the existing burial area as a General Cemetery.
My regards to Mrs Walpole,
T. Allsop (512)
Further correspondence between the Minister of Lands Mr. J.M. Tully and the Minister of Conservation Mr. W. Dunn dated the 14th Septemebr 1945 gave a progressive update:
14th September 1945
The Hon.W.F. Dunn, M.L.A.,
Minister of Conservation,
Dear Mr. Dunn,
With reference to your further personal representations on behalf of Mr. Harry Walpole of Hill End, concerning the burial ground in that locality, I have to inform you that this matter is at present with the District Surveyor, who has been asked to expedite his report as far as practicable.
Minister of Lands. (512)
Twelve months later Harry Walpole received a letter from the Minister of Lands Mr. W. Dunn, with another progressive report:
5 SEP 1946
H. Walpole, Esq.,
HILL END. N.S.W.
Dear Mr. Walpole,
With reference to your recent personal representations to me at Hill End relative to the Hill End and Tambaroora Cemetery, I desire to inform you that upon my return to Sydney I have looked into the matter.
The position at the moment is a little complicated, but negotiations are being carried out with the Church of England Authorities and I hope to have the matter finalised shortly.
The area which is now being used as a cemetery for the Hill End ad Tambaroora locality is actually the property of the Church of England Authorities and, as you know, it has been used for many years as a burial ground for the dead of all denominations except Roman Catholic. Everything was apparently satisfactory until the Church of England Authorities decided that any burials within the area must be conducted in accordance with the service of the Church of England. No plan of burials has been carried out and consequently graves of all denominations are intermingled throughout the area.
The surface parts of the land is shallow and other parts are affected by erosion, but the District Surveyor considered that there is sufficient area, mostly in the north east corner, to meet the requirements for the next 50 years. It was suggested by the District Surveyor that the whole area be resumed by the Crown and after reservation as a General Cemetery, an allotment be made for the exclusive use of the Church of England Authorities and the balance allotted for general use by any other denomination which may require the use of same.
In view of the fact that the area is the property of the Church of England Authorities, this suggestion has been referred to those Authorities for any comment and upon receipt of a reply the matter will be further considered. It has also been suggested that if Ministers of other denominations were permitted to conduct burial services within the area, the present difficulty might be eased.
M. Dunn (512)
Harry Walpoles relentless pursuit to have the cemeteries status changed finally paid dividends when he received a letter from the Lands Department in October 1946:
24th October 1946
H. Walpole Esq.,
HILL END N.S.W.
With reference to previous correspondence and more particularly to the Minister's letter to you of the 3rd Septemebr, 1946, relative to the Hill End and Tambaroora Cemetery, I desire to inform you that the authorities of the Church of England are prepared to have the Allotments 1, 2 and 3 resumed by the Crown subject to provision being made therein for a suitable site for the exclusive use of the Church of England Denomination, the balance of the area to be set apart for general use by any Denomination which may require to use same.
In the circumstances the Minister has approved of the District Surveyor at Orange being authorised to survey an area in the north east corner of Allotment 1 which would meet the requirements of the Church of England authorities, with a view to the dedication and grants dedicated for a general cemetery, the area surveyed to be allotted as a Church of England burial ground and the remainder to be left as a general burial ground for all other Denominations.
Under Secretary (512)
It still took until 1950 that positive steps were made to officially recognise the cemetery. In that year a
proposal for the resumption
of the dedication of Lots 1, 2 and 3 Section 16 made in 1863 and the re-dedication as a general cemetery was made in the NSW Government Gazette.
The following year the NSW Government Gazette revoked the 1863 NSW Government Gazette for the lands usage and the land was re-dedicated as a general cemetery.
Trustee's were appointed
for the C of E portion of the General Cemetery in 1952.
This final dedication saw an end to a long battle to have not only the cemetery recognised officially but also noted that it was in fact originally the site of the Church of England Church, School and Parsonage, and never gazetted or dedicated as a formal cemetery. Its existence as a cemetery was more akin to being the Church of England graveyard only.
Factual information will be added when confirmed