St Thomas Rest Park (including Sexton's Cottage and cemetery fence) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


St Thomas Rest Park (including Sexton's Cottage and cemetery fence)

Item details

Name of item: St Thomas Rest Park (including Sexton's Cottage and cemetery fence)
Other name/s: St. Thomas Church Cemetery
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Cemeteries and Burial Sites
Category: Cemetery/Graveyard/Burial Ground
Primary address: 250 West Street, Crows Nest, NSW 2065
Local govt. area: North Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
250 West StreetCrows NestNorth Sydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Important local cemetery and repository of the remains of many famous colonial identities, among which are several pioneers of the North Shore. Remaining graves and monuments, the gates and fence to West Street and to Sexton's cottage are important historic remnants of the original cemetery (now a Rest Park). The interior of the cottage is in original condition and is of significance.

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include information on landscape significance, interiors or the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are updated by Council as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conversation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Date significance updated: 08 Apr 14
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Physical description: Interesting and historic monuments still remain: Elizabeth Berry 1845 Edward Wollstonecraft 1832, and Alexander Berry 1873, are together in imposing pyramidal stone vault. Judge Ellis Bent 1815 and Br Major John Ovens 1825 share a combined monument which was moved from the George Street cemetery and later from Garden Island. Others include: Lieut. Col. George Barney 1878, Capt. Owen Stanley 1850, Rev. W.B. Clarke 1878, Capt. John Vine Hall 1932, and his wife Alice 1934 (daughter of E.T. Blacket) William Pymble 1849.

The original cemetery fence to West St. remains. It is a fine Gothic design in wrought iron on a stone base. Unsympathetic 1970s trees plantings are causing some damage to the graves and have significantly altered the character of the landscape setting.

The Sexton's cottage is a simple venacular style, one-storey house of rendered brick with a verandah and an iron roof over timber shingles. It was possibly built circa 1850. Its interior and landscape setting are also of significance. It is used by North Sydney Council as a house museum.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Major alteration- Gravestones relocated, mounding introduced and plantings.
Date condition updated:08 Apr 14
Further information: Some monuments are being damaged by the trees.
Current use: Park and Cemetery
Former use: Cemetery


Historical notes: St. Thomas' cemetery was donated to the church by Alexander Berry after the death of his wife Elizabeth in 1845. It remained under the control of the Church of England until 1967 when an Act was passed transferring the cemetery to North Sydney Council. The Rest Park was designed by Ashton, Powell and Taylor and it was officially opened in 1974. In the conversion, broken monuments and headstones were cleared away and others were moved to 'historic' sections. A few were left in place. Most grave surrounds were removed and used to form low walls. Sandstone fill was used to create mounds. Large numbers of native trees were planted and the area grassed to create a park.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
This item is assessed as significant for its associtaion with significant early residents of Sydney.
SHR Criteria g)
This item is assessed as historically representative regionally. This item is assessed as aesthetically representative locally. This item is assessed as socially representative locally.
Integrity/Intactness: Unsympathetic
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I018002 Aug 13   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
North Sydney Heritage Study Review19930894Tony Brassil, Robert Irving, Chris Pratten, Conybeare MorrisonTB August 1992 Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenNorth Sydney Council - Megan White2002Plan of Management St Thomas Rest Park

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2180894

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