How often have you stopped for a rest on one of the low stone retaining walls at Blackbutt Reserve? Chances are, you’re sitting on the remains of the early headstones from Newcastle’s first European burial ground at Christ Church Cathedral.
The burial ground at Christ Church Cathedral was first used possibly as early as 1801. The Old Burial Ground eventually contained over 3,300 burials before the last burials took place there in 1884.
No human remains were removed from Cathedral Park, and indeed there were by that time less than 300 headstones remain, most illegible or broken. Other grave markers, being made of timber, had deteriorated years before.
Under the terms of the Act, Council was required to compile an index plan and register of the names of people buried on the site as well as any other information that could be obtained about them.
From the act, “Council shall … remove all headstones without legible inscriptions thereon and other surface structures from the said lands and dispose of them in a manner agreed upon by the Council and Corporate Trustees.” Other headstones were to be preserved in their existing positions or to be removed and preserved in a new location, which is why in 2012 we see them along the eastern boundary.
Sarah Cameron, former Newcastle City Council heritage strategist, “The pieces of headstones and grave markers that were broken or illegible were transferred to other parts of the city to be used as either road base, garden edging or retaining walls – that sort of thing – and a number of them went to Blackbutt.”
So now, that low retaining wall you may have sat on or the kids walked along … will have more of a story for you.
In a small park along Park Parade, Marmong Point stands the grave of William Bell and Margaret Scott Quigley (nee Mitchell).
The following extract, from an article titled The Laurels (a historic property at Stockton), gives a brief history of the Quigley family …
Agusta and James Mitchell had 3 children – Agusta Marie Mitchell born 1834, David Charles Frederick Scott Mitchell born 1836 and Margaret Scott Mitchell born 1840.
When James Mitchell died on 1st February 1869 his estate was held in trust with one third to provide an income for life for his wife Agusta, and on her death, the remaining estate to be held in trust and divided between the 3 children until David turned 21 and the girls turned 21 or married.
Agusta had married Edward Christopher Merewether, David never married. Margaret married William Bell Quigley in 1870 after her father’s death.
It would appear that William Quigley, who was born in Ireland near Belfast , was not in favour with James Mitchell because he was an Irish Catholic and once worked for the family as a stable hand.
With the money left to her from her father’s estate Margaret and William built a house at Teralba where they had a family of 4, James Mitchell Aspinal Quigley born 1871, Agusta Sophie Quigley born 1874, William Frederick Bannister Quigley born 1875 and David Quigley of whom there is no further reference in the records.
William died when he fell from his horse in 1879 while Margaret Scott Mitchell died in tragic circumstances when her clothes caught fire at her home, and she ran about 100 metres to the Lake but she died in hospital in 1887. Her estate was left to her children, James Agusta and William. As there is no mention of David it is assumed that he died.
The NSW BD&M register have no birth records for any of the above mentioned children? There is however, death records for William F. B. Quigley (1400/1913 – Chatswood) and Augusta Sophia Quigley (59741/1972 – Newtown).
William died about 7 years before Margaret and the location of his grave was lost.
I obtained the following information from a paper called “TERALBA – Some notes on its early history” prepared by members of the Lake Macquarie & District Historical Society.
The current grave was occupied by Margaret alone until Mr. J. P. Cowdery, a manager of the Quigley Estate, discovered the location of Williams grave. The site was excavated and Williams coffin and remains were re-buried alongside the grave of his wife. An elaborate monument, which still stands today, was erected over the grave(s).
Apparently the site was originally a burial place for the Teralba township but most of the graves were not marked with headstones and the Quigley grave is the only one that exists today.
This grave is somewhat unusual in that, it is well preserved, despite being previously located in a housing development.
Sally N Tahlia I remember that, not very far from my place. The other ones out in the bush behind Teralba have been smashed & completely ruined
Kerry Shadwell The cemetery at booragul used to still be in street directories about 15 years ago. My ex and I spent a lot of time tracking around the bush land looking for some kind of sign that it was once there. After several weekends we found remnants of some old graves. Sad that it had been left like that.
Pam Wallace Some of the relatives at the grave site at Teralba took the headstones away as they were being vandalised. I have familly members that were there on my father’s side,
Sally N Tahlia That’s good to know some were saved, it made me sad to see that people had ruined everything. Last time I was up there was quite a few years ago & there were smashed headstones & graffiti everywhere. I thought it was so disrespectful to the people buried there.
Bigjohn Young Yep you are right the town Houses that were Demolished was on Part of Quigley Estate and the grave was in the bush to the back R/H side of the town Houses when we built the ESTATE we were under absolute ORDERS no one bit no one touched the GRAVE or go near it with any Machinery I was the Contract Front end loader Backhoe for the whole Construction
Pam Wallace I grew up in Teralba and Booragul and my dad would walk us up through that area with my sister to get Christmas bush but I have not been up there for many years to the cemetry.
Pam Wallace I have a book called Big Hill, a tribute to the Pioneers Interred in Teralba and District Cemeteries. Photos, people’s names that were interred there, lots of great stories about people who lived in the area. It is published by Newcastle Family History Society Inc, Adamstown. I am still trying to get through it.
Coral Allen It is the headstone Of William Bell Quigley Died 18? March 1879 & his wife Margaret Scott Quigley 4th November 1885 Inscription “EARTH NO SORROW WHICH HEAVEN CANNOT HEAL”. William was reunited with Margaret,when Williams grave was located and his remains transferred to this site .It is at Park Ave, Booragul.. I was only looking at photos we took this morning, when producing /compiling “The Quigley Grapevine” a Local Newsletter for our area, from 2002 till 2009. Awaba house @ Booragul near the Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery is where the original home stood, it was burnt down causing the death of Margaret.
Paul Kinder When I worked at the Water Board in the 60’s, I was sent out to check council records for addresses of properties that owed multiple years of rates. There were huge sections of land between Teralba and Fennel bay where no rates had been paid for years. The owner was listed as the Quigley Estate c/- The Public Trustee. (I was sent out of the office to keep me “Out of the public eye”, my hair was considered to be too long)
Pam Wallace Mr W.B.Quigley died on the 20th March, 1879 after a fatal accident after his horse threw him.
Rachel Noy This is the quigleys grave I lived 5 houses away from it. Growing up as kids there where a lot off scary stories about the grave which stopped a lot of us going near it.
Leanne Morton McFarlane Ok I couldn’t help myself , I’m just out picking up my son from work at Maccas Glendale 11pm , so I thought I’d drive past this grave yard ! yes it was spooky the moon is full and shining directly onto the grave , it’s foggy and very spooky out there. I must admit i probably drove out of there a bit quick But Iam going back tomorrow for a better look.
Rachel Noy As kids Leanne we walked passed there really quick or tried to avoid it at night too
Coral AllenJess Pickard, its in the history of the land that they are not to be destroyed. I remember reading somewhere, I know Housing NSW where not to touch them when they built the Townhouses.
Bigjohn Young DEAD Right any Contractor on the site was under instant dismissal if you at any way harmed or done anything near the GRAVE