We have chosen to base our initial selection on either headstones or vaults still standing in the graveyard.
Some of the audio sketches are theatrical in form, others are taken directly from newspapers of the time, except two, which use the letters of Stanley Howard, assistant minister at St. Peter’s Church during the 1870s. Essential to a funeral in the 19th century at St. Peters, would have been the use of ‘The Order for the Burial of the Dead,’ from the ‘Book of Common Prayer, published in 1662. We have quoted from it sparingly, but would hope, that with it’s obvious profundity, it will be easily recognised. Hymn tunes played on each audio track would have been familiar to 19th century St. Peter’s. Not all are hymns used for funerals, nor were those buried at St. Peter’s all Church of England or Anglican.
The closure of Brickfield Hill in the City of Sydney saw St. Peters and the surrounding suburbs become the heart of the brick making industry. James Howard, (Audio 1) brick maker, died when crushed between two carts on the corner of Harris St and Broadway. It is still possible to visit the site of the accident, and visualise what happened. As well as hearing the report of the inquest we hear Stanley Howard’s comments on the funeral.
William Cook (4) landlord of the Pulteney Hotel Tempe, has a memorial window in the church. His son rebuilt the hotel in the 1890s. Now called the Tempe Hotel, minus its grand portico, it still stands today on the same site.
Thomas Black (5) was a patient at Bayview Mental Hospital when he died, this was located on Cooks River Rd , now Princes Highway, Tempe.
Between March and September of 1864, Alexander Moore (6) and his children Alexander and Maria died. The ‘Encyclopaedia of Plague and Pestilence,’ editor George Childs Kohn, points to the period 1863-64, in Australia, as plague years for Scarlet Fever or Scarletina as it was popularly known.
John Moore, (7) the father of Alexander Moore, came to the Colony of N.S.W. when he was 83 years old. Only twelve years separate the date of his modest headstone with the large vault of Alexander Moore and family.
Can we believe all we read in newspapers?
John Moore’s obituary mentions that he was ‘one of Nelson’s own’ having served at Trafalgar. Researching the lists of all who fought alongside Nelson, we cannot find John Moore the gunner. As to his dying when the guns were firing to acknowledge the death of the Duke of Wellington, (died on 14th of September 1852). The event bordered in black, was first announced in the NSW newspapers of the 11th December 1852. John Moore died on the 12th of December and the guns were fired on the 13th.
Thomas Bown, father of the Sydney Fire Brigade, (8) lived at Barwon Park. The estate lay eastward from his grave across the PrincesHighway. It gave its name to the road of the same name.
There is a link between James Waller (9) and Elizabeth Beaumont (10). William Beaumont owned the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel which still stands in Sir Joseph Banks Park, Botany. Though now converted to residential appartments.
Elizabeth, his wife, died at the home of James Waller. In the same year that Elizabeth died, William married Martha Waller elder daughter of James.
The George Breillat (11) headstone is the only one in the graveyard whose inscription is in Latin.
The Way (12) family home, Lymerston, still stands in Hillcrest St, Tempe, though much altered. The location, of the home of Richard, only a few yards from the aunt’s, or the large pond where he drowned, hasn’t as yet been identified. The Way and Johnson families, who have a memorial window in the church, are connected by marriage.
James Johnson, (27) organist at St. James Sydney, was the uncle of Harmsworth and Cecil Way, who were themselves, uncle and father of Richard Frederick Way.
John Smith, (13) the father-in-law of Henry Richards, was described as ‘one of the most efficient officers in the police force’. Cooks River throughout the 19th century was a landscape of marsh, swamp and scrubby bush land. An ideal location, within walking distance of the city, for escapees from chain gangs to live unfettered, and not requiring a horse. Newspaper reports, and the diary of Alexander Brodie Spark testify to their frequency in the area. Spark’s home Tempe House, still standing on the banks of Cooks River at Wolli Creek, has heavy wooden shutters, which appear to bear testimony to this. Bare knuckle fighting was a well organised activity on the stretch of Cooks River between Botany and Canterbury. Smith’s stoppage of the ‘mill’ between Bill Sparks and Green was such an event.
James Richard’s (13) ’White Horse Hotel’, King Street, was on the corner of that street and White Horse Street, Newtown.
William Duguid, (14) born in Scotland in 1821, was the illegitimate son of Lesslie Duguid. Lesslie, his father, arrived in the Colony of N.S.W. In 1822. William appears to have been accepted by his father and is buried in the family grave. William’s cause of death, apoplexy, is now known as a stroke.
The place of Samuel Bagnell’s (15) drowning was not the present mouth of the Cooks River. Since the building of Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport the mouth has moved south. Errors in the reporting of names, a common feature of 19th century newspapers, are illustrated here.
The Raymond (18) family’s magnificent vault displays the family coat of arms. James Raymond was the first Post Master General of NSW. his son was Secretary to the Post Office when he died. Another son, Robert, was known as one of the most active officers in the colonial force.
Edward Bowerman (20) was a member of a Loyal Orange Order Lodge, a Protestant organisation. While working as a railway employee he was killed when run over by a train near Everleigh Station.
By the time of Charles Emblem’s (21) death brick making was mechanised.
The accident may have occurred at a pugging mill, where clay enters a hopper and is ground into clay suitable for brick making. In Sydney Park at St Peter’s there is at least one example.
Florence Uebel, (23) the heroine daughter of naturalised Germans, lost her life in attempting to rescue a friend from a water hole off Unwin’s Bridge Road. Two Uebel’s are on the St. Peter’s Church Honours Board for the Great War of 1914-18. One gave his life.
A former shop on the corner of Unwins Bridge Road and Foreman Street may have been Mr. Uebel’s shop. At the time of the drowning, the west side of Unwin’s Bridge road was in Marrickville Municipality, whilst the east side was St. Peter’s. The sketch, although contrived, uses newspaper reports of the event, in part to highlight, that all too often 19th century newspapers reported names incorrectly.
Contributing to the death of jockey, William Edwards, (24) may have been his riding weight. In this race he was handicapped at 6 stones 10 pounds (42.67Kg). The wasting required to get to this weight may have contributed to lower bone density, and this to bones fracturing, and subsequent septicaemia. A Galloway, mentioned in the report, is any horse between 14 and 15 hands in height.
The time taken for the approval by Queen Victoria of William Hart Gadden (25) as Belgian Consul, points to the tyranny of distance when it comes to the mother country communicating with the colony of New South Wales. He had died by the time it arrived.
Frederick William Towers Baber (26) was son of the Rev. Charles Baber, the incumbent or rector of St. Peter’s. This event is taken from ‘Stanley’ A Young Man’s Colonial Experience’, the letters of Rev. Stanley Howard, assistant Minister to the Rev. Charles Baber, at St. Peter’s. The etiquette and length of mourning which are associated with Victorian Society appears to have been ignored on this occasion, and on many other occasions in the records of St. Peter’s.
‘Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee’.(John Donne)