LIVERPOOL PIONEERS’ MEMORIAL PARK
(THE ‘OLD’ CEMETERY, 1821 – 1958)
Here lie buried the early pioneers of Liverpool – a community of colonial officials and military personnel, free settlers and convicts and members of their families including many infants and young children who sadly died early. It also contains the remains of residents of local institutions, like the Male Orphan School (until 1850), Thomas Moore College (until 1889) and hundreds of pauper inmates from the Liverpool Asylum. Service personnel from World War I were also buried here, as well as German and Austrian internees who died at the Holsworthy internment camp during the same period. However, these latter were disinterred in 1961-62 and reburied at a memorial cemetery at Tatura in Victoria for German internees from all over Australia. No German internees’ remains now lie in this park.
This cemetery, the second in Liverpool, was opened in 1821. Because of its proximity to St Luke’s Church, it was often referred to as St Luke’s cemetery, but it was not created on Church land. From 1827, the cemetery was divided into denominational sectors, the closest to Campbell Street being allocated to Anglicans, then a one acre lot north of that for Roman Catholics in 1846, plus an addition to that in 1868. A small sector along Macquarie Street, near Lachlan lane was set aside for Wesleyans in 1863. In 1884, a small area in the north-east corner of the site, adjacent to the Hume Highway was dedicated for Presbyterians plus an extension west of that (adjacent to Northumberland Street.) for Catholic paupers burials. Non-denominational pauper and asylum inmate burials occurred between those areas and Lachlan lane, in unmarked graves.
The cemetery was closed for burials in 1958. In October 1970 the Old Liverpool Cemetery Act authorized Liverpool Council to convert the cemetery into a rest park. Many headstones were removed and put into storage or placed on a serpentine memorial wall that stood from 1970 to 2009. Since 2009, these headstones have now been returned to their original resting place. The park was reopened on 3 September 2010 by Mayor Wendy Waller.