OLD BURIAL GROUNDS, ODD STORIES
Picture of Sydney Town Hall cemetery wall in 1842 (on left of picture). Sydney markets / police station shown to the north of the site. Source: The Daily Telegraph
Though the Old Sydney Burial Ground (above) is said to be the first official colonial burial ground in New South Wales, there were other burial grounds prior to this.
"First colonial burial grounds
The first burials in the colony were utilitarian and practical. The fledgling township, struggling against the alien climate and conditions, could do little but dispose of the remains. Nothing survives of the first series of informal burial grounds established around the Rocks. What little we do know is gleaned from incidental descriptions in official documents and letters.
Little is known about the burials during the first five years of the colony. What we do know is due to the extensive research undertaken by Keith Johnson. From early correspondence and diary entries it seems the first informal burial grounds were located close to the infant township. It is hard to reconcile the different descriptions. There are references to one at Dawes Point for mariners and seamen, another within the Rocks, possibly somewhere within the block today bounded by Essex, Gloucester, Grosvenor and Harrington streets, and a third behind the military barracks at Clarence Street. "
Devonshire Street also preceded it. When that cemetery was declared closed, a number of reinterments were carried out and coffins and headstones transferred to the Old Sydney Burial grounds, as it is now known. Not all were moved. You can check the list of those known to be reinterred here.. this is a direct download.
The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser Thu 25 Sep 1823
Quoting further from https://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/death_and_dying_in_nineteenth_century_sydney
"The settlement of Parramatta had its own series of burial grounds as the distance between the settlements was too vast to just have a single colonial cemetery. St John's Church of England Cemetery was established in 1790 and buried all denominations until other cemeteries were established. The Catholic Church gained St Patrick's Cemetery in 1822. St John's Cemetery, Parramatta, remains the earliest undisturbed colonial cemetery in Sydney with headstones dating back to 1791."
Cemetery and the active gallows, detail from 'Plan de la ville de Sydney' 1802
From the collections of the