Monday, 21 May 2012

Old Balmain Cemetery

Perhaps the children's playground was built up, rather than dug down.

Old Balmain Cemetery conducted its first interment in January 1868, and its final interment in May 1912. It was converted to the Pioneer Memorial Park during World War II. It covers 11 acres, and all told 10,608 people were interred there.

The bandstand is an unusual design with its own solar power.

As the conversion from cemetery to public park progressed, descendents were encouraged to make decisions about the remains of their ancestors. Very few people were exhumed and moved elsewhere. I will tell you about one such tomorrow on Taphophile Tragics. All the headstones were removed. Some were used to 'adjust' the surface of the park. Some were used in retaining walls. There is none left in situ. About 30 headstones were removed to Camperdown Cemetery. Others were used as historic markers where requested. The headstones of two ex-ministers were removed to St Barnabas' Church on Broadway. However, this is just the headstones. The vast majority of bodies remain interred beneath the rolling green of the park.

The war memorial was moved from elsewhere in Leichhardt to its prominent position within the park.

11 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

What a great idea, Julie. Re-use of a cemetery as a park is wonderful, I think, as long as there's no chance of children accidentally digging up human remains, and I'm sure that was taken into account.
K

Deb said...

Great post. How interesting see a reclaimed burial ground. Wonder why the bandstand need solar power?!

Julie said...

I am not sure about the solar power, but perhaps it powers the lamps that light the pathways through the park. I will try to find out.

Julie said...

Deb, according to the Plan of Management prepared for Leichhardt Council in September 2011 by Worley Parsons, the solar power is for the pedestrian lighting throughout the park.

Jim said...

I have seen this grandstand from the road but have never been this close. Thought it was an unusual design but had no idea about the solar panels.

Peter said...

Hope those kids don't dig too deep.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Interesting reuse. You sure do dig up some interesting stuff on your favoured theme.

Rae Walter said...

A fascinating story Julie. I don't know that I have heard of such a large area before being returned to a park. Seems to have been a successful transition. The colours and clarity in your bottom photo is stunning.

NixBlog said...

Great shots of this unusual recycled cemetery, Julie.

Mo said...

Multi uses for land are a good idea

Julie said...

I have another such cemetery to tell the story of land re-use yet. Next week for that one. Getting around via public transport is time consuming.