Cypress Street Burial Ground
The various former cemeteries are an interesting, and no longer forgotten, part of the colonial era of Launceston. The first established ground was referred to as the Episcopalian Burial Ground and after the street was named, Cypress Street Burial Ground. Consecration took place in 1823 and administration was vested in the Established Church; of St John’s. It was several years before other church bodies were permitted to establish their own Burial Grounds.
First consecrated as a cemetery in 1823 during the period of the construction of St. John’s Church, it was situated towards the lower end of what is now Cypress St, Newstead, directly opposite the present Newstead College.
Cypress Street ground was closed to new burials in 1909, and only relatives of the interred, using family plots and vaults, were allowed burial until 1929, at which time the cemetery was fully closed.
It is estimated that over 9000 people were buried at this Burial Ground, based on a count of burials researched and compiled from newspaper and journal entries by Dianne Cassidy in her meticulously researched and definitive book Cypress Street Cemetery,1 and checked against record books held by St John’s Church.
During its time as a cemetery, the site apparently went through long periods of neglect, and a somewhat sensationalised article in the Cornwall Chronicle, Sat. 25th March 1848, page 2 , was scathing of the neglect which it attributed to the “Ministers and Wardens of St. John’s Church, and a disgrace to the inhabitants of the town for permitting it.” In keeping with the often-vehement attacks made on many personages and institutions by that publication2, the writer suggested that funds provided by the colonial government and from sale of plots, had been misappropriated by the church, and ought to be refunded if the cemetery was not brought up to an acceptable standard.
Following its closure in 1929, the cemetery apparently went through a further period of neglect, and no doubt the trustees of the diocese were unwilling to sacrifice further funds to its upkeep, given that it could no longer be used. The Launceston City Council claimed “eminent domain” over the site in 1953, and prepared the ground for use as a park. Nearby Broadland House Church of England Girls Grammar School, now the primary school campus of Launceston Church Grammar School, was given use of the area as a sports field from 1953. Now known as Broadland Park, it was, of course, cleared of all headstones and monuments, and levelled over.
Memorials can be searched online at a Find-a-Grave site dedicated to the Cypress Street cemetery.
Grave plan/map of Cypress Street Burial Ground held by St. John’s Church. Date of final entry unknown. All rights reserved.
Cypress St Burial Ground alphabetical listing 1848-1892 held by St. John’s Church. The limited range of this register does not encompass the entire history of burials at the cemetery. All rights reserved.
Cypress St Burial Ground plot numbers 1848-1892 held by St. John’s Church. The limited range of this register does not encompass the entire history of burials at the cemetery. All rights reserved.
- Cassidy, Dianne J.E. Cypress Street Cemetery 2018 ISBN: 2770000022408 (listed in 2020 as currently available from The Book Cellar)
- Bell, Jane 1993 ,‘An extremely scurrilous paper” : the Cornwall Chronicle, 1835-47′,Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.