Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Coastal Hospital Cemetery



The Coast Hospital Cemetery at Little Bay on the northern side of Botany Bay, was first established in the early 1880's and now houses as many as 2000 graves. 
It serviced the Coast (Prince Henry) Hospital, originally a smallpox hospital, as people who died of smallpox were required to be buried at the hospital grounds.





  The hospital was built far enough from the city to provide quarantine, and for this reason, the hospital in time became an infectious diseases hospital, also treating patients with influenza, bubonic plague, typhoid fever and leprosy. Unfortunately, the cemetery has now fallen into disrepair and many of the grave sites are in poor condition . 




Today's post is part of  Julie's Taphophile Tragics page

19 comments:

  1. Had no idea this was there.

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  2. I didn't know that was there. Where do you access it from - the coast walk?

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  3. You can actually drive up near the entry. It's not marked parking but bug enough clearing off road. I will fb you link to walk when I get home. I have included walk link on the up coming posts too

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  4. Very interesting post Jo, I also had no idea about this cemetery. Jo if you want me to post any shots from the North Coast just send me an email with the places, it would be a pleasure.

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  5. Interesting post. It must have been so horrible to catch one of those nasty 'bugs' in the past ... not even able to be buried in the local cemetery.

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  6. I too did not know this place existed and I thought I was aware of most old features round Sydney! (I used to live there!) So sad that this amazing heritage place is in disrepair!

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  7. The graves are in sad disrepair, but the grass has been cut! Perhaps the families feel a bit uneasy about going to a place that has buried people with communicable diseases? My laptop screen is too small to read the fine print on the plaque, but how does "remains of Aboriginals from museums" fit in with the hospital story, Jo?

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  8. What an interesting place. Such a shame the cememtery has been left to decay.

    Herding Cats

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  9. A lot of work has gone into some of those graves, all those little mosaic tiles make for an unusual memorial

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  10. Transcription of Plaque.

    This area marks the final resting place for the ancestral remains of La Perouse Aboriginal people returned from both Australia and overseas museums.
    The resting place was est in 2002 to lay to rest returned ancestral remains oringinally taken from the northern side of Botany Bay within the boundaries of La Perouse local Aboriginal land council. The La Perouse community chose to est the resting place because they feel the ancestral remains of their people should be returned to their country.
    A resting place has also been est the La Perouse community on the southern side of Botany Bay, where the ancestral remains of 21 people were reburied in May 2002. Both resting places will be utilised in the future for the reburial of other ancestral remains to be returned.
    Little Bay Cemetery was chosen as the location for the resting place by the La Perouse Aboriginal Community because in most cases it was not possible to return the ancestral remains too the places that they were originally found. The La Perouse Aboriginal community also maintain strong historical and cultural associations with Little Bay Cemeteries, many having relatives buried here and therefore feel the establishment of the resting place at this location is appropriate.
    The first reburial at this location occurred in June 2002. At this time the ancestral remains of seven people returned to La Perouse Aboriginal Community by the Australian Museum and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services, were laid to rest. The ancestral remains of several of these people had been held in the Australian Museum for over 100 years.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for this, Jo!

      [My blog hopping is already excrutiatingly slow because of the proxy I must use. It is then further slowed every time I need to prove I am not a robot with unintelligible captchas. In future I will visit but not leave comments on blogs using captchas. Sorry.]

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  11. What a sad sight, all these graves that are in disrepair. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Fantastic post, Jo. I am so glad you did this walk last weekend. I will endeavour to get out there. In reality it is not far away, and I am often out at Botany Cemetery. The pathetic thing about the condition of the graves, is that the hospital site was sold for condinimiums (masquerading as aged-care or some such) and yet no provision was made for the upkeep of this historic site. That distresses me.

    There is another 'infectious diseases' cemetery out on North Head. I want to get over there, too. Some many cemeteries to visit, so little time.

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  13. I suspect that not many family members come out to visit these grave sites, so there may not be such a stink about restoring the stones or maintaining the area.

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  14. it looks like such an empty field! not really a cemetery..
    were the patients at least buried by name?

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  15. The few head stones that we could read had the normal details on them. A few were nurses.

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  16. You can buy a publication from Cape Banks historical society http://www.capebanks.org.au/henry.html

    Re the burial of aboriginal remains there were some in the local aboriginal community who expressed the view that the deceased should be buried in their own country - that country being places around Bondi, Vaucluse, Watson's Bay, Farm Cove. Perhaps choosing two spots within Botany Bay National Park was a matter of convenience rather than a demonstration of cultural sensitivity - overseen by Cultural Heritage unit with National Parks at the time.

    Regarding the upkeep of the site it was the responsibility of National Parks well before Landcom's 'redvelopment' of Prince Henry.

    The field is spectacular in Spring when the pigface bloom.

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  17. I have recently discovered that 2 of my relatives are buried here. In fact the 2 graves in the first picture on this page are for Alice Hayle nee Rouse and her daughter Enid Pearl Rouse. Alice Hayle is my great grandmother and Enid Pearl is my great aunt.

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  18. My great grandfather James Stevenson was buried there in 1887. He died of Typhoid contracted shortly after he immigrated from Scotland. He was living in Newtown and there was an epidemic at the time - as I recall, perhaps a hundred died: notably there was no sewerage system in the Newtown area, only open drains down the streets. His death certificate says he died at the Coast Hospital and was buried at LIttle Bay Cemetery. After much research in the 1980s, we discovered a little nursing museum at the Royal Prince Henry Hospital. The hospital wss originally tents in the sand hills and called the Coast Hospital. Within that museum, was a detail plot map of the Hospital Cemetery and an index list as to the locations of who was buried where. James Stevenson was placed in Plot 261. A few years later we found out that the NSW Government had published a report on the "Coast Hospital, Little Bay" dated 1887/8 - it was held at the Australian Genealogical Research office at the Kiama Library. It too has the index in an appendix. We paced off the distances and found the likely area where James was buried but one can't be precise - if we could I would like to erect a minimal headstone - he would have had no concept of the extraordinary successes of his descendants. If any one is interested in further details please feel free to contact me at pgtjs@hotmail.com. I have long lived in America so have not been to the cemetery in many years. I hope it has been at least maintained minimally - I was told when we found it that the area was cleared occasionally by the inmates at the nearby Long Bay Gaol. From the photos I have just viewed it seems perhaps a little better now. There is also a marvelous view of the coast from there. I seem to recall that there were also graves of Chinese people buried there as they were denied places in other cemeteries as they were not Christians - sad situation if true.

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