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14 years · 11 months · 24 days
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There is a new web-site, of Irish origin, to which we are now referred to when making enquiries about non-Catholic burials at Rookwood Necropolis:
The web-site also enables us to see exactly where a particular plot lies, on a satellite image overlaid with "historical" cemetery mapping - at least for those sections which have already been mapped (some are not - particularly those older sections in the northern part of the Old Anglican portion, and in Old Methodist and Presbyterian portions, and especially those that are overgrown).
And if you access it using a smart phone (I do not have one), it will tell you how to get to the plot you want!!
Despite several hopefully transient shortcomings, I commend it highly.
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When the the Necropolis Cemetery opened at Haslem's Creek, west of Sydney, in 1868, there were seven portions, each with their own Trustees, as set out in the N.S.W. Government Gazette - Church of England (53 acres 3 roods; with five trustees); Roman Catholic (39 acres; five); Presbyterian (11 acres 1 rood; five); Wesleyan (6 acres 1 rood; six); Independent (5 acres; six); Jews (2 acres 1 rood; five); and the General Cemetery (58 acres; five, including second named T. SPENCE, my great-great-grandfather).
These are now reduced to two organisations - the Rookwood General Cemeteries Trust, and the Catholic Cemetery Trust.
The General Cemeteries Trust now uses a refined Zone identifier in their on-line indexes and maps - and have in several cases (for the Anglican and Jewish portions) have removed those identifying Denominational labels, which can lead to some confusion if read without using their map.
These "new" Zones can be summarized as follows:
Zone A - Old Methodist; Presbyterian; Old Independent; Old Jewish; and Old General.
Zone B - Old Anglican, including Naval.
Zone C - Anglican Extension, between Haslem Drive and Hawthorne Avenue.
Zone D - Anglican, to the east of Hawthorne Avenue and Necropolis Drive.
Zone E - Remainder of Anglican; Serbian and Russian Orthodox portions; Armenian and Assyria; all north of the Weeroona Road entrance.
Zone F - Independent Extension; New Methodist Extension; Greek Orthodox; Eastern Orthodox; Lutheran/Estonian; Ukrainian.
Zone G - The larger part of Jewish Extension west of Hawthorn Avenue.
Zone H - Additional Jewish, between Hawthorne and Blashki Avenues; Chinese; Anglican Lawns; War Graves.
Zone I - Indo-Chinese; Chinese; Orthodox.
Zone J - Muslim, both north and south of the Catholic Mortuary 2-3 Section.
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I am one of the many photo volunteers for the Sydney area, and my special interests are Rookwood, Waverley and South Head cemeteries, although I can and do get to other cemeteries as needs may and do arise.
In addition to fulfilling photo requests where I can (the competition is, very fortunately, getting a little hectic!), I am now progressing systematically through "un-mapped" areas of the original 1868 Haslem's Creek Cemetery (comprising 200 acres) that was expanded in the 1880's (with an additional 550 acres), and is now generally known as the Rookwood Necropolis. I have already begun photographing all visible gravestones in sections radiating outwards, and in ever increasing circles, from the site of the original Mortuary Receiving Railway Station (it was located inside Necropolis Circuit, and later became known as Mortuary One Station after the spur line was extended into the extension area to serve three additional receiving stations).
So far (August 2017) I have completed about 60% of Old Methodist, about 30% of Old Presbyterian, probably about half of Independent Old Ground, half of Old Jewish, only two sections of Old Anglican (A and B), and several part sections of Old Catholic Mortuary 1 (A, 1 and 5). Will progress further until my time expires and as diminishing funds permit!
As a regular visitor to Rookwood, any particular requests by e-mail (see below) can and will be investigated to the best of my ability.
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A particular note.
As I see it, Rookwood Necropolis is just the one big cemetery. Yes, the different denominational portions are managed separately, but they all lie within the one surrounding fence, and physical progress between them is entirely unhindered. If there is no memorial on which to post a photograph, I generally create one in Rookwood Necropolis, and identify the denominational portion as first item in the plot location. Requests to "transfer" any of these to the "separate" Catholic Cemetery will usually fall on deaf ears, as I see that as contrary to the spirit of the secular society in which we are privileged to live.
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Another particular note.
Many memorials for burials in R.C. portions (Old Mortuary 1 and the extension Mortuaries 2 and 3) have been created from the on-line burial index, and due to an unclear and ambiguous indexing process, these appear with the alpha/numeric section identifier being mistaken for a Row number. As far a I am aware, no cemetery index uses Row numbers - and the only source for Row numbers does appear to be the 1980's full transcription of all standing stones that was done by volunteer members of the Society of Australian Genealogists (of which I am a member), and which transcriptions are now available, by license of the Society, on the and web-sites. Use of these Row numbers from that source should sensibly acknowledge S.A.G. copyright.
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To other volunteers, this sincere message. Thanks for all your efforts - and for the slight "frisson" arising from the chase (those thank you notes can indeed be very heart-warming) - and please be advised that if I happen to post another photo on a memorial for which you have already fulfilled a photo request, or created for posting a photo, I absolutely intend no disrespect. I only find out that a photo is already there after I have done all the processing to my daily take, and if an image on the desk-top is clearer or more readable, then I post it as an extra option for descendants who might some day come across the memorial, rather than sending it irretrievably to trash.
As do most other Rookwood volunteers, I avoid the use of the "claim" option when fulfilling photo requests. As a result, I do occasionally "suffer" what is referred to in the real-estate industry as having been gazzumped!
I do not copyright the photos that I post - the epitaphs on gravestones are, in my view, not up for any of us to "claim" private ownership over, unless, perhaps, we are a direct descendant of those named on the stones. Other findagrave members are free to use the photos that I post, and, while I do not insist upon it, due recognition of the source is always a "good-citizen" thing to do, at least in family history circles. Further, I will continue to offer un-tagged photos, taken as part of a request fulfilment, on memorials with photos already there which have been subjected to a copyright tag. Especially, says he ever-so-slightly mischievously, if I have been gazzumped by another volunteer who has inadvertently taken advantage of my having tidied the plot of debris and cleaned the gravestones on it!


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