The Old Sydney Burial Ground (now occupied by the Sydney Town Hall) was used for burials from September 1792 to the end Jan 1820.
Their situation (new officer’s barrack) being directly in the neighbourhood of the ground appropriated to the burial of the dead, it became necessary to choose another spot for the latter purpose; and the governor, in company with the Rev. Mr. Johnson, set apart the ground formerly cultivated by the late Captain Shea of the marines. (David Collins, An account of the English colony in New South Wales: Volume 1, RAHS, Sydney, 1975, p. 194).
Whilst no actual burial register exists, some headstone inscriptions have been documented in historical records.
The first possible burial apart from Captain Shea in 1789 is that of a convict Michael Dunn, who was buried 8 September 1792.
Over the next 27 years there may have been up to 2445 burials, consisting of convicts, members of the NSW Corps, free settlers and children.
For example: Prudence Loveridge, died 30 July 1816, age 18, free, buried 31 July 1816 Old Sydney Burial Ground. She was born 11 October 1798 Sydney Cove, baptisied 24 March 1799 at St Phillips Sydney, mother Priscilla Loveridge, with a William Rayner noted as father. Priscilla Loveridge had arrived in the Colony as a convict 1792 per Royal Admiral.
An inventory of burials in the Old Sydney Burial Ground has been collated from historical records by Cathy Dunn from Australian History Research (the most comprehensive list of names associated with the cemetery – burial ground published to date) and is available for viewing and download from the City of Sydney website
Images courtesy of City of Sydney Council.
3 Generations Family history reports on all people buried at Old Sydney Burial ground are available.