Australia’s oldest surviving European cemetery was established in January 1790 in an old stock paddock on the outskirts of Parramatta, the land of the Darug Nation’s Burramattagal clan. Thenceforth, it became the final resting place of (at least) 50 First Fleeters, a multitude of convicts, soldiers, pioneers and colonial elites who were immortalised in place names in Parramatta and surrounds, Governors’ wives, women and children who died at the Parramatta Female Factory, orphans who passed away at the Orphan Schools at Parramatta and Liverpool, as well as patients from the nearby convict hospitals and various mental health institutions in the colony — to highlight just a few major groups that are well represented in this historic cemetery.
Originally a non-denominational cemetery, St. John’s is also a place of diversity that provides a more nuanced view of the early colony and the town of Parramatta specifically, with Aboriginal, Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Muslim, Romani, African American, German, Dutch, and French people buried here as well as British Anglicans. This State Heritage listed site, then, is significant not just for Parramatta, New South Wales, or even Australian history, but for World History. Click here to read more about the history and significance of the cemetery.
The St. John’s Cemetery Project
The St. John’s Cemetery Project is the cemetery’s online biographical database. It brings to life once more the stories of the people buried herein, beginning with our first collection St. John’s First Fleeters. As for the other notables buried at this cemetery they, too, will be “remembered” in time…
To search the cemetery database go to the SEARCH page.