The Reverend Samuel Marsden remarked that:
At the first establishment of the colony for a long time no piece of ground was set apart for a Burial place. 
The Old Burial Ground
The Old Burial Ground (now occupied by the Sydney Town Hall) was used between September 1792 and 1820, when it officially closed. Its replacement was the Sandhills Cemetery (Devonshire Street Cemetery), which later became the site of Central Railway Station.
By the 1840s there were concerns about overcrowding and over the next twenty years a number of alternative locations were considered.
In 1862 the government purchased 200 acres of land 'near Homebush on the Railway Line…' for use as a general cemetery. The first registered burial took place at the Rookwood Necropolis in 1867 .
We hold records of burials at the following cemeteries: Devonshire Street (re-interments); Camperdown; Mudgee; and Wollongong (Old Roman Catholic Cemetery). See below for a description of the records.
The Council of the City of Sydney holds a downloadable inventory of burials at the Old Sydney Burial Ground, which was compiled using the St Phillip’s Parish Registers and other primary and secondary sources, such as diaries, newspaper reports and government records.
Enquiries about other cemeteries should be directed to the relevant trust, board, council or other body that administers the burial site. Researchers interested in cemetery transcriptions can check on their availability in the publication by Killion & Garnsey referred to at the end of this guide.
Records of dedications and administration of burial grounds
In addition to the records listed in this guide, information on the dedication and administration of burial grounds, including maps and particulars of the land set aside for this purpose can be found in our catalogue amongst the records of the Surveyor General, Colonial Secretary and the Lands Department. Parliamentary Papers are another useful source, as many cemeteries were set up under Acts of Parliament.
Special Bundles, Letters Received
Main series of letters received
These records relate to re-interments from Devonshire Street Cemetery following its resumption to make way for the development of Central Railway Station.
|Index to the re-interment register||1 Jan-31 Dec 1901|
|Re-internment register||1 Jan-31 Dec 1901|
|NRS 8285||Dedication registers||1842-1979|
|NRS 8292||Cemeteries register||1906-1927|
Photographic prints of headstones, monuments and plans of Camperdown Cemetery.
|NRS 8298||Plans of Camperdown Cemetery||1949-1954|
|NRS 8311||Typescript extract from 'Register of the Names of and other relevant information in respect of persons buried (in the) Old Roman Catholic Cemetery, Crown Street, Wollongong'||1805-1914
|1867; 1878; 1881-1884; 1889, 1890
Devonshire Street Cemetery Board (see also Botany Cemetery Trust)
When Central Railway Station was being built on this site in 1901, about one third of the monuments and remains of those interred in the former burial ground were relocated to metropolitan and country cemeteries.
Copies of letters sent
|5 Mar-17 Apr 1901|
Reports on the restoration of graves
- Johnson, Keith A. and Sainty, Malcolm R., Sydney Burial Ground 1819-1901 (Elizabeth and Devonshire Streets) and History of Sydney's Early Cemeteries from 1788, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 2001.
- Killion, Martyn C. H. and Garnsey, Heather E., Cemeteries in Australia: A Register of Transcripts, 3rd ed., New South Wales, Australian Federation of Family History Organisations, 1994.
- Weston, David A., ed., The Sleeping City: The Story of Rookwood Necropolis, Society of Australian Genealogists in conjunction with Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1989.
 Keith A Johnson and Malcolm R Sainty, Sydney Burial Ground 1819-1901 (Elizabeth and Devonshire Streets) and History of Sydney's Early Cemeteries from 1788, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 2001, p. 11.
 David A. Weston, ed., The Sleeping City: The Story of Rookwood Necropolis, Society of Australian Genealogists in conjunction with Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1989, pp. 13-14.
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This content first appeared in Archives in Brief 69 - Cemetery records
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