Castlereagh General Cemetery & Native Vegetation | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Castlereagh General Cemetery & Native Vegetation

Item details

Name of item: Castlereagh General Cemetery & Native Vegetation
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Cemeteries and Burial Sites
Category: Cemetery/Graveyard/Burial Ground
Primary address: 77-85 East Wilchard Road, Cranebrook, NSW 2749
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Penrith
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
77-85 East Wilchard RoadCranebrookPenrith CumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The bushland setting of the Castlereagh Anglican Cemetery and its historical associations with the Macquarie era town reserve are unique at a state level. The cemetery demonstrates longevity of European occupation in Australia, clearly demarcates the old township and is the major remaining physical evidence of the town reserve, and has associations with a high number of early settlers of local and state significance and documents many pioneer families prior to Civil Registration. It is one of the oldest undisturbed burial grounds in Australia. The bush setting evokes the pioneer period of settlement, while it contains several monuments of unusual and early design. The cemetery includes a small population of the endangered native plant species, Dillwynia Tenuifolia.
Date significance updated: 11 May 06
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.


Construction years: 1814-
Physical description: Castlereagh Cemetery is adjacent to the eastern side of the intersection of Church Lane and Wilchard Road. The cemetery area is covered by remnant native vegetation classified as Castlereagh Scribbly Gum Woodland and Castlereagh Ironbark Forest. The latter is listed as an endangered ecological community under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. The endangered plant species Dillwynia Tenuifolia, occurs along the north-west, north-east and south-east boundaries of the site. No traditional introduced plantings are evident.

The cemetery is overgrown with indistinct tracks providing access across the cemetery area. The western and southern boundaries are defined by an earth bank, the remains of an original fenced ditch. Remnants of previous picket fencing were removed several years ago. No clear boundaries are evident on the northern or eastern sides of the utilised cemetery area. The cemetery contains at least sixty-four monuments (not including footstones) and several concentrations of monument fragments. Of the sixty-four monuments evident about one third require repair and/or resetting. The monuments are scattered across the cemetery area, arranged in small clusters which appear to relate to family groupings. Families represented include: Hadley, Field, Herbert, Rope, Fraser and Mills. Depressions in the ground throughout the cemetery area suggest that there are many graves which are now unmarked. The extant monuments in the cemetery date from 1814 to 1973. A majority of monuments are nineteenth century sandstone headstones with footstones, although the site also includes four altar monuments (all damaged), two timber crosses, one marble headstone (smashed) and four twentieth century slab and desk monuments. There are also three iron grave surrounds/fences and a number of iron chain surrounds with sandstone corner posts. More than half the monuments record burials prior to Civil Registration in 1856 and may be the only record of the individuals concerned. Most of these early monuments are headstones of Georgian style with simple semicircular or anthropomorphic profiles. Many monuments feature excellent quality, low relief carving of simple motifs such as seraphs or florals and finely incised Roman and copperplate scripts. Some stones bear crude lettering styles that indicate the probable illiteracy of some early masons and their problems with spacing and spelling of early inscriptions. One example is the 1836 headstone to 'elibeteth herbert' [sic]. The early monuments commonly have inscriptions which include considerable biographical detail and a number feature the inclusion of lengthy verses which provide insight into the beliefs and values of the era. (RNE)
Date condition updated:25 Feb 05


Historical notes: The cemetery forms part of the official town reserve set aside with the common by Governor Macquarie in 1810 for the settlers on the eastern bank of the Nepean River. While few if any settlers relocated to the town, the Rev Henry Fulton had an Anglican chapel and schoolhouse erected nearby the cemetery. The first recorded internment in the cemetery is that of Mary Ann Smith in 1814.

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)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The cemetery demonstrates longevity of European occupation in the region and has associations with a high number of early settlers of local and state significance. The cemetery is an integral element of the township reserve and also demonstrates ongoing historical associations with the natural vegetation.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The cemetery is associated with persons associated with founding and early occupation of the town such as Governor Macquarie, surveyor Meehan, and Reverend Fulton, and settlers of the broader region.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The remote and secluded cemetery with its extensive tree cover provides a place for quiet reflection in a bushland setting and provides an insight into the endangered natural vegetation in the area. The individual monuments demonstrate the local artisan’s craft.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The cemetery is the focus for community interest in history of the local area and the contribution of the early settlers to the history of the State. This is demonstrated by ongoing restoration of gravestones by individuals and groups.
SHR Criteria f)
The partially endangered bushland setting of the cemetery and its historical associations with the town reserve and local community is unique at a state level.
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 PlanCastlereath General CemeteryC-1620 Dec 91 180 
Local Environmental PlanPenrith LEP 20103222 Sep 10   
Heritage study 226003201 Nov 07   
Heritage studyCastlereath General CemeteryC-1601 Apr 87   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Penrith Lakes Scheme RES1983    No
Penrith Heritage Study Review2005C16Paul Davies Pty. Ltd.Paul Davies Pty Ltd Yes
Penrith Cemeteries: Conservation Plans1989 Don Godden and Associates Pty Ltd  Yes
Heritage Study City of Penrith1987C-16Fox & Associates  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenKevin Mills & Associates Pty Ltd2001Report on Flaura and Fauna, Portion 245 Church Road Castlereagh

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: 2260032

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