Singleton- Queen St. Cemetery – Notes




This work surveys the catholic section of the cemetery in Queen Street, Singleton (See Map 1) which contains four graveyards, three catholic sections and one Methodists The three catholic graveyards together span 150 years and contain over 1200 interments. The oldest section, which is studied in more detail contains nearly four hundred graves and was first used in 1844. The study researches the historical background to the graveyard and describes it in terms of the grave arrangements, the tombstones, their design and materials. The results of the survey are analysed to provide data on the occupants as to mortality rates, age at death, places of origin etc. Comments are made on these results and comparisons made with local and ‘national’ figures. Photographs are used to illustrate the differing design of monuments and an attempts are made to provide some information as to the individuals.

Historical Background

In the 1840’s  Singleton was a private township having developed around the crossing of the Hunter river on land granted to Benjamin Singleton. The location of cemeteries in those early days is not known but one of the oldest if not the oldest is at Whittingham some seven kilometers to the south east of the town. The oldest headstone there is dated 1833. However the Whittingham cemetery has no division by denomination as specified in the  Government and General Order of 1820 for the control of public cemeteries. This could mean that the regulation was either  ignored or that all the inhabitants were of the same faith.[1] It is mostly likely the latter case as a Church of England school is reported there in 1829 as being situated on land next to the cemetery. [2]

The question then is, that if the graveyard was not for Catholics where were the Catholics buried. The first mention of a graveyard for the catholic community is the Queen Street site,  in the Maitland Mercury in January 1845.[3] A search of the early local newspaper first finds a report in February 1862 of concern regarding ‘our burying ground’ and calls for a public meeting to ‘consider the  best means of obtaining a more convenient right of way …and  remove the present necessity of a five mile journey’ [4] This article must have been referring to the Whittingham cemetery given the ‘five mile journey’ and to access to the cemetery was and still is across the rail line, hence the reference to a ‘more convenient right of way.’

 It is known that rural properties in the district had their own graveyard as people more often than not died at their residence and were buried there.[5] For many years it was not necessary for a doctor, undertaker or clergyman to view the body before burial, nor was it necessary to be buried in an authorized cemetery.[6] But it became of increasing importance in the Victorian years where possible to be buried in sacred ground and possibly this is one of these reasons that Singleton resident John Browne in 1845 donated two acres of land ‘as a site for a chapel, parsonage and burying ground’.[7]  The official transfer of John Browne’s  two acres to the church was to take five years to finalise but this did not deter interments from taking place both before and after it’s consecration by Archbishop Polding.[8]


A search of the parish and diocesan records reveals that Browne actually made two gifts of land to the church. The two acres in 1845, and in December 1865  ‘three rood and twenty eight perch’. It is not apparent as to whether this second grant was also for a graveyard as the conveyance states that the land was ‘to permit and suffer(?) to be used and enjoyed as an extension and enlargement of the Roman Catholic Church Yard on the South side thereof.’[9] It would seem likely that it was, as the records of the parish reveal that some six months later the parish priest, Father Leonard made known the ‘Rules to be observed in the New Grounds lately added to the Old cemetery attached to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Singleton.’[10] However the conundrum is as to where ‘ on the south side thereof’ this land was, as the south side of the church was then and still is a public thoroughfare. (see map 2)


Not only does the location of the second land grant pose somewhat of a puzzle but so do attempts to reconcile the parish record of burials and the remaining tombstones. The church records, between the first entry in 1844 and 1857 show 84 burials but the survey of the cemetery only finds 24 tombstones for the same period.[11]

The difference between the parish records of burials and the headstones could be due to a number of reasons. Firstly, tombstones were not always erected given the socio-economic position of some of the residents. Secondly where headstones were erected they may have been subsequently removed or ‘lost’ and thirdly because whilst the parish register records burials it does not nominate place of burial.[12] It is not impossible that actual interment took place other than at the Queen Street graveyard.

The oldest headstone in the graveyard is that of Ellen Gorman and is dated the 3 May 1844. This interment is also the opening entry in the church records by the first parish priest, Father Michael Stephens.[13] The entry is also dated the 3 May, 1844. However according to local historian, Michael Sternbeck, Father Stephens was at that time still the priest at Geelong.[14] The first report as to his presence in the town is in the Maitland Mercury  in October 1845 when Archbishop Polding consecrated the cemetery which of course does not necessarily mean that he was not in the town prior to the visit of the Archbishop. [15] To some extent it would be unrealistic for him not to be in the parish prior to such, if only to make the necessary arrangements for the visit oh his grace.[16]


How Ellen came to be buried in the cemetery before it was consecrated is not known. As well, the records show a two year gap after the Gorman entry to the next entry of Johanna Tooly on the 27 May 1846. Whilst this entry is also signed M. Stephens there are significant differences in the handwriting of the two entries. ( and that of others). Ignoring the argument as to who was actually registering burials; does the two year gap mean that there were no deaths in this two year period ? Or does it mean that there were no interment in the catholic church cemetery. The compulsory registration of births, deaths and marriages did not commence in N.S.W to 1856 and while there were returns made before this date by the local pastor it would almost seem that this was on a voluntary and ‘ad hoc’ basis rather than an official one. [17] There are notations ‘sent to government’ in the margins for some entries but not for others.

There are significant areas of difference between the church records and the remaining tombstones, there is the problem as to where the second land grant actually was, there is the question as to where interments were taking place prior to the 1845 and how and why Ellen Gorman came to be buried in the cemetery before it was consecrated. The two year gap between the date of the first burials in the parish records and the next entry as well as differences in the handwriting are all questions raised in the research for this survey but which I am afraid remain unanswered.

The ‘Old’ Cemetery


This section of the graveyard which contains nearly 400 inhabitants is enclosed and is well maintained and cleared of undergrowth albeit that the photographs do not indicate thus at the time taken. The majority of the 185 headstones are in reasonable to good condition. Sandstone headstones predominate and the inscriptions are clearly legible on the fine grained sandstone but not so in the case of other tombstones of a coarser grain material. A number of white marble  memorials  are scattered thorough the ‘old’ cemetery and there are two granite  monuments. The use of marble and granite as a material for monuments has increased over the life of the cemetery, no doubt reflecting the improvement in the economic conditions of the community. This is particular obvious in the second and third cemetery. The oldest monument is that of Ellen Gormann the first person buried in the cemetery and her tombstone is actually inscribed with the number ‘one’. The cemetery has not been used since the 1960’s.


img036The graves themselves conform with the `Order Established in the Mother Country’ of a east west location.[18] That is, the headstones face the rising sun. The older headstones are representative of the Georgian period and are predominantly upright monuments of anthropomorphic or simple Norman shape with little to no decoration. The influence of the Victorian styles are apparent in the more recent monuments. There are two altar or chest monuments both belonging to prominent local people. The Irish composition of the parishioners is not as obvious in the ‘old’ cemetery as it is in the second and third cemeteries where there are considerable more Celtic crosses. This supports Ingliss’s contention that the Celtic cross was not introduced into the colonies until 1900’s. [19]

The older interments are at the south eastern end of the ‘old’ cemetery ( the Queen Street side) and the graves progress in a semblance of chronological order by row towards the west. However this row arrangement apparently changed  in 1866 when interments commenced from the opposite, that is, the western end and progressed towards the east. Even then there are inconsistencies. The parish records contain no plans of the ‘old’ cemetery. The record from 1866 do contain a listing by row, describing each row as a section in alphabetical order (A to G) with twenty plots per row or section. The listings in the records are far from complete with the last entry dated 7 Dec. 1873 for a John Gaynor. Attempts to correlate these listings with the actual tombstones have been only partly successful


There is no evidence in the ‘old’ cemetery of compliance with the church edict of 1885 which specified the setting apart of an unconsecrated portion of a cemetery separated by a fence or wall for the purpose of ‘the burial of infants who die without baptism, and of others, who according to the canonical enactment’s are deprived of ecclesiastical burials’  that is those who marry outside the church, and those who commit suicide.[20] There is an area on the north eastern side of the second cemetery which has obviously been used for infants. Whether this constitutes an unconsecrated portion is not known.

ston_headstones_BrowneThe majority of the headstones do not record the stonemason responsible for the monuments. Where they do they are, in the main, the work of  the well known Maitland firm of Thomas Browne or of its Singleton branch. The other stone mason is a W.Barthrop. Browne opened a branch in Singleton which was managed by a William Thomas Barthrop. Barthrop later went into business for himself and there are a number of headstones thus inscribed.[21] In nearly all cases, the material used by Barthrop is of as coarser grained sandstone that that of Browne and has consequently fretted in most instances The local sandstone was probably quarried at Rix’s Creek some six kilometers to the north of the town as the nearby Catholic Church is also built of similar material.[22] On the other hand the Maitland stone is of a much finer grain stone and is likely to have been quarried at Ravensfield which is approximately seven kilometers to the south west of Maitland on the Wollombi Road.


Citizens of the Cemetery


It would appear, that if the memorials within the nearby Church, the occupants of the cemetery and their tombstone inscriptions are indicative of the parishioners then they were predominantly Irish, with some German and English. This contention is supported by the official policy to banish the troublesome Irish to the Maitland area and the ensuing concentration of Irish settlers in the Hunter Valley.[23]  In the case of the Germans, the notion is further supported by the research of W. Parkes who argues of `the substantial and cohesive’ German community in the Hunter Valley in the 19th century. In the case of the German-Irish he also suggests that intermarriage between the two nationalities was not uncommon given the commonality of Catholicism and this is also supported by the memorials.[24]

The oldest headstone and the first record of burial in the parish records is:-

 No. 1


Gloria in excels deo

This stone was erected by Dennis Gormann in

memory of his beloved wife

Ellen Gormann alias Sheehan a native of the land.

Who departed this life May 18th 1844

Aged 40 years

May the lord have mercy on her soul. Amen

Absence from the body

Presence with the Lord

Ellen was a ‘female servant’ living at Cockfighters Creek, now more commonly known as Wollombi Brook which flows into the Hunter upstream from Singleton.[25] The wording of the inscription ‘alias’ indicates a de facto relationship which was by no means unusual at that time. Neither party rate a mention in the Singleton Pioneer Register.

The most prominent citizen in the old cemetery is John Browne. Browne was a innkeeper who received a grant of 60 acres on the 31 March 1821.[26] He lived at ‘Macquarie Place’ which was located to the north west of the Catholic Church and its adjacent cemetery.[27] Browne was active in local affairs and was among others things a member of the first council of the Municipality of Singleton, the committee of the Benevolent society and the local Mechanics Institute.[28] He was a generous benefactor of the Catholic church but was scandalized when his daughter Fanny became involved in 1881 with the parish curate Father John Mealey.[29] He died later that same year, aged 78. [30]


            Debatable the most interesting epitaph is that to George Ritz.


In Loving Memory


                                                                  George Ritz

                                                        Who Departed This Life

                                        After Being Cruelly Treated By His Neighbor

                                                   At Scotts Flat On 24 Oct 1865.

                                                                Age 56 Years.


For fourteen days in agony I lay,

                                                  Till Jesus took all my pain away,

                                             My wife and children in greatest pain,

                                                  To find me thus so cruelly slain.

            A local identity Dot Clayworth states that George was reputed as a ‘blue eyed curly headed lad’ who was fond of the ladies. I am not sure as to whether that is an apt description given that he was 56 years old and far from being a lad when he was slain (garroted?) by his neighbor Ludwig Halter.[31] Ludwig was buried  not far away in the same cemetery some 15 years later.

The graves of the German parishioners are located to the north eastern corner of the cemetery in a semblance of chronological order. Mutzelburg notes that it was the custom for German Baptists and Lutherans to bury their deceased in chronological order row by row starting at one end of the grave yard .[32] That custom must have some cultural significance given that the Catholics also seem to have adopted the same practice.

If noteworthy is measured by socio-economic determinants then there is a noteworthy absence of Catholics in this classification in the ‘old’ cemetery. In fact an analysis of  the entries in the parish records by occupation reveals of the first 86 entries the occupation where stated of more than half is that of a laborers. The remainder are a mix of female servants, farmers, carriers and inn keepers. They were a mixture of farmers and laborers, those who were born free, those who became free  and those who came free rather than wealthy landowners who according to Campbell belonged to `the mercantile, professional and leisure classes, (and) most of whom resided in Sydney’.[33]


Statistical Data

Table No. 1 analyses the three cemeteries for interments on the basis of age at death. The mortality rate for those under 21 years in the ‘old’ cemetery is unsurprisingly higher than for the other two cemeteries. The figures for the 21 to 50 years age group for the second and third cemeteries are somewhat similar whilst the number of deaths in the 51 to 70 age group for all three cemeteries show an increase in longevity.

The responsibility for the care of the sick by the Singleton community commenced in 1845 when the Singleton and Patrick Plains Benevolent Society established an ‘ asylum for the sick and indigent ‘ of the area. [34] However it has been argued, that as this type of care was more of a custodial nature than medical, it was advances in medical sciences rather than the provision of refuges for the poor which had the greatest influence on longevity.[35]












1905 TO DATE.


1950 TO DATE


1844 TO


> 21 years.





21 to 50 years.





51 to 70 years.





< 70 years.












Chart Number 1 plots the mortality rate for children five years of age and under as a percentage of the total interments from 1841 to 1960. The chart shows a declining rate despite some reversals of this trend. Kingston, like the graph, notes a increase in infant mortality rate in the 1870’s followed by a improvement in the 1890’s. She attributes the improvement in a national context as being due to better water supply, sewerage and drainage systems.[36] In a Singleton context, the water reticulation was commenced in 1882, sanitation services commenced in 1911 and sewerage in 1940.[37]


The epidemic of pneumonic influenza in the first half of 1919 which left 11,500 dead across the nation could explain the trend reversal in the 1911-20 period.[38]  The fall from 1921 to 1930  is suggested by Radii as being due to a fall in birth rate rather than advances in welfare and or health services [39] However, it would have been expected that the downward trend would continue, hence why the increase from 1921 to 1960.  The writer can offer no explanation for this increase other than to note that a closer examination of the figures show that in 62% of the cases deaths occurred at less than one year of age. This increase in infant mortality rates in Singleton is of even more significance if Radii’s claim that infant mortality in the country was lower than in the cities is correct ! [40] It is also an area of further work to explain why 25 % of these deaths occurred in the early 1940’s.


Table No. 2  places some of the inhabitants of the first cemetery by country and / or place of origin. The headstone for the first burial, that of Ellen Gorman, is the only one that nominates ‘Australia’ as place of birth, Ellen was a ‘native of the land’. [41] There are in the ‘old’ cemetery only two other ‘countries’ nominated, Ireland and Germany. According to Fitzpatrick most Irish immigrants came from Clare, Tipperary, Limerick whilst O’Farell suggests that  most came from Dublin, Cork, Galway and Tipperary [42][43] In Singleton’s case all these counties are represented.

However, Germany per sec as place of birth was not stated at all, rather the name of the town and then only  for Philip and Elizabeth Holtz who were vine dressers who arrived with their nine children in March 1851 on board the `San Franciso’. The Holtzs’ either came from Erbach the town south west of Frankfurt  or the other Erbach in south west Germany near Ulm on the Danube. The presence of German names in the grave yard and the conspicuous lack of reference to Germany as a place of birth could be due to the fact that prior to 1871, Germany as we know it did not exist.[44]


Table No. 2 Place of Birth









Timothy McDonald




Bridget O’Brien




Michael O’Brien.


3 May 1898



Michael Fitzgerald





Margaret Fitzgerald


30 April 1895



Timothy McDonald




Bartholomew Carey.




James Martin




Lawerence Leonard





Thomas Curry










Elizabeth Holtz





Philip Holtz




Tables 3 and 4 provide some details in a general sense as to the age of the cemetery and its occupants whilst Table 5 records incidences of acidental death or otherwise.


Table 3 Oldest Monuments





Ellen Gorman

15 May 1844

John Lewis

8 Sept 1847,age 7 days.

Mary Vickery

17 Sept 1847,age 46

Mary Ann Miller

20 Feb 1849,

age 27

Esther J. Cavanah..

15 June1850, age14months

Edward McManus

28 Nov1850 age50

Richard Blake

9 Sept.1850 age34

Ellen Richerson

16 April11852



The eight oldest monuments covering the period from 1844 to 1852.


Table 4 Earliest Dates of Birth






Bryan Donohoe


William Stuart


Byron Lynch


Ellen Richerson


Mary Dwann


John Byrne


Thomas Cavanah


Anthony Schubert








Table 4. Cause of Death where stated.


George Ritz

of Scotts Flat  age 50.`after being cruelly treated by his neighbor’23 June 1856See prior note.

Henry Dries aged 10ShotGood Friday 1886.

Richard Browne  Accidentally drowned in Hunter River age 4.29 Nov 1872  Resided at Macquarie Place






The Quenn Street cemery is a valuable source of local history which encourages further work. The monuments display the changing styles of In





Appendix 1


Rules to be observed in the New grounds lately added to the Old Cemetery attached to Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church Singleton :-


1. No fences are to be erected  round the graves or vaults


2. For every single grave- 4ft x 8 ft- a fee of one pound is to be paid


3 For every double grave – 8ft x 8 ft – a fee of two pound is to be paid


4 If a headstone will be erected either over a double or single grave an additional fee of one pound is to be paid


5 Vaults to be paid fro according to agreement with the pastor


6 The southern side of section G to be devoted expressly for children. No grave to exceed 3  x 5  for which a fee of ten shillings is to be paid


7 Al monies received from interment to be expended on the grounds with the view of keeping it in proper condition.




Thomas  Leonard

Catholic Clergyman,


16th July 1866.





Baldock, J., The Elements of Christian Symbolism, Elements Books, Longmead, England, 1991.


Family History Society Singleton, (ed.), Singleton District Pioneer Register, ,Singleton, 1989.

Fink,E., The Built Environment of the Shire of Singleton, Hunter Valley Research

Foundation, Research Report No. 33, Hunter Regional Estate

Project, Newcastle, 1977.

Fitzpatrick, D., `Irish Immigrants in Australia: Patterns of Settlement and Paths of  Mobility’,       Australia 1888, No.2, August 1979.

Guilford, E.,  Hunter Valley Directory 1841, Hunter Valley Publication, Newcastle, 1987.

King, H.W.H., The Urban Pattern of the Hunter Valley.  A Study of Town Evolution,          Morphology and Aspect, The Hunter Valley Research Foundation, Monograph No.   17,  Newcastle 1963.

Lemon, A., Pollock, N., Studies in Overseas Settlement and Population, Longman, London,          1980.

Mutzelburg, O., How To Trace Your German Ancestors, Hale and Ironmonger, Sydney, 1989.

O’Farrell, P. Letters From Irish Australia, 1825-1929, New South Wales University           Press,   Sydney, 1984.

Singleton Shire Council,  Echoes and Images. 1981

Singleton Shire Council, Singleton Municipality and Shire, 125 Years On 1866-1991.1991.

Stephens, H., ‘The Architecture of the Christians’, The Australian Catholic Record,           Vol. LXVI, October 1989, No.4.

Sinclair, M., Sister, Sacred Places,  Sisters of Mercy, Singleton 1995.

Vondra, J., German Speaking Settlers in Australia , Caviler Press, Melbourne, 1981.



Bulbeck, C., ‘Australian History set in Concrete? The Influence of the New Histories on   Australian Memorial Construction’, Journal of Australian Studies, No. 28,            March 1991 in Resource Material, Local History 223. History

Cox, J. Charles and Ford, C.B., The Parish Churches of England, B.T.Bashford Ltd.,       London             1950.

Guilford, E., (ed.) ,`The Hunter As It Was.’, Journal Of Hunter Valley History, Vol. 1, No. 2,       1985.

Guilford, E.,  Hunter Valley Directory 1841, Hunter Valley Publication, Newcastle, 1987.

Jervis, J., `The Hunter Valley.  A Century of Its History’, Royal Australian Historical         Society,            Vol. 34, Part 3, 1953.

McLaughlin, `Singleton’, The Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 8 (Supplement),     1923.

Nadel, G., `Letters from German Immigrants in New South Wales’  in   Journal of the Royal         Australian Historical Society, Vol., 39, Part 5. 1953,  pp. 253-266.

Middleton, G.A.T., English Church Architecture. From the Earliest Times to the    Reformation. Charles H. Kelly, London,  c.1908.





The Gothic shaped headstone for John Bernard McCosker

 complete with the draped Grecian urn symbolic of death

and an allegorical figure in mourning pose. The bodiless cherubs

usually signify the flight of the soul- but why two.

The two column on the sides suggests a doorway or possible

entrance to afterlife.


 Note the fine grained stone which most likely came from Ravensfield

as the mason was Browne of Maitland

Photo: Author 1994


img039The cast iron simple cross

for the infant daughter of C. Popenhagen.

The letters are moulded into

 the casting thus producing

a fadeless inscription

Photo: Author Feb. 1997

img042The white marble tombstone on the right erected in 1902

 commemorates the life of James O’Bryan .

The cross atop its steps to salvation is flanked by two grey marble, Ionic columns.

Baldcock suggests the two pillars marking an entrance or

 gateway represents a state of duality which is resolved in the

 case of death of James O’Bryan by leading to a new life in the cross of cavalry.[45]

On the left the 1870 grey fine grained sandstone memorial to

Patrick Burke contrasts with that of his neighbor and fellow Irishman.

Here the hand of God holds the scroll of life in a simple classical monument.

 In the background are simple upright gravestones

typical of the Georgian period.

Photo: Author 1997.

img037A general view of the second cemetery which was first used in 1905.

 The headstones have lost some of the Victorian symbolism. [46] The upright

 Norman and anthropomorphic shapes have given way to smaller

marble tablets rather that the less than satisfactory sandstones of the area.

Photo: Author 1997

img041The obelisk favored for memorials in ancient cultures

because of perception of eternity. In this case, the  broken

 column represents the shortened life of

 Maria Therese Maguire who died on the 7 June 1887 aged 21 years.

Photo: Author 1997









































The ‘old’ cemetery.

The headstone face the rising sun

 with the rows orientated north – south.

The majority of stones are simple upright

 Georgian monuments.

Note that there are few Celtic crosses.

Photo: Author 1997


[1] C. Sagazio (ed.) Cemeteries: Our Heritage, National Trust of Australia, (Victoria), Melbourne, 1992 . p.10

[2] Centenary of the Municipality of Singleton, 1866-1966, Municipality of Singleton, 1966, p.15

[3] Maitland Mercury, 21 January 1845.

[4] Singleton Times and Patrick Plains Advertiser, 15 Feb. 1862.

[5] For example see the Busby and Kelman Family Vault at ‘Kirkton’ Lower Belford, Family History Society of  Singleton, Singleton and District Headstone Inscriptions, Volume 3, June 1987, p.18.

[6] Sagazio, op. cit.  p. 12. On the same page Sagazio notes the English church yard model of  church and graveyard combined.

[7] Maitland Mercury, 21 January 1845. Whilst the Mercury  reports the gift in 1845, the actual transfer was not effected until 23 August 1850 between Browne ‘in consideration of the sum of ten shillings of lawful British money ‘ and his wife Elizabeth ‘in consideration of five shillings’ See Diocese of Maitland,  Deed Register 104, Envelope 151. It is interesting that whilst the Mercury reports the gift for the purpose of ‘chapel , parsonage and burying ground’ the transfer documents make no mention of a burying ground  and only mention the land to be used for  ‘a church or a Chapel…also a schoolhouse and Clergyman’s Dwelling house and outhouses’. The land was already being used for a graveyard.

[8] Maitland Mercury,  5 October 1844

[9]  Singleton Parish Records. The parish records are slender to say the least. They consists of the various registers of births, deaths and marriages. These register entries are on prescribed forms which have been bound into a series of books. The second set of ‘records’ found is a ledger / minute book which contains handwritten entries, usually in pencil, not always signed or dated . For the purpose of this work I have referenced the ‘official’ records as Parish records No. 1 and the second set as Parish records No.2.

[10]  Parish Records No. 2, 6 July 1866. See Appendix 1 for the ‘rules’.

[11] ibid.

[12] Ms. Maureen Anderson a member of the parish cemetery committee in the 1950’s relates that headstones were lost in the 1955 floods, others  were damaged and some removed to the local garbage dump!

[13] Parish Records No.1

[14]  M. Sternbeck , Supplement to The Catholic Church in Singleton, An Historical Look At Its People And Progress, October 1995. p.5.

[15] Maitland Mercury,  5 October 1844

[16] Sternbeck contends that he arrived with the Archbishop but fails to state his sources. M. Sternbeck , op.cit., p.6


[17] G.M. Griffen, and D.Tobin,  ‘In the Midst of Life…The Australian Response to Death’, Carlton, Melbourne University Press 1982, in Resource Material, Local History 223. History Through Monuments, University of New England,  Armidale, 1995, p.9

The issue is further confused in that the only return found to have been made by Stephens was for 3 May 1844 to 26 July 1846, the next return was not to c.1848 by Father John Rigney.  AO Reel No. 5044, Register of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, Vol No. 115 part- 117 part.

[18] L. Gilbert,  A Grave Look at History,  Sydney, 1980, p.16.

[19] K. Inglis, K.S., ‘Passing Away’ in Gammage, B.and Spearritt, P. (eds.), Australians: 1938, (Vol. IV f Australians: A Historical Library), Fairfax, Syme and Weldon Associates, Broadways, 1987, p.245.

[20] Griffen, op. cit., p.40.

[21] Diocese of Maitland Records, Envelope No.385, containing a copy of Conveyance between John K. Howe and others of the land for the Wesleyan cemetery. Reference No. 598, Book 254. Among the ‘others’ is a William Henry Barthrop, stonecutter.

 See also Singleton Argus, Centenary of Publishing Feature, 1874- 1974, 15 July 1974.

[22] M. Sternbeck, The Catholic Church in Singleton, An Historical Look At Its People And Progress, Broadmeadow, 1981. p.38. The stone for the Church was quarried from Rix’s quarry some seven km. from the town and transported to the site by Bernard McCosker a farmer of Glendon. Bernard McCosker is buried in the graveyard.

[23]  P.O’Farrell, Letters From Irish Australia,1825-1929,Sydney, 1984, p.17.

P.O’Farrell, The Irish in Australia, Kensington, 1987. p. 86.

[24] W.S.Parkes,`German Immigration to the Hunter Valley in the Mid-19th Century’, in E.Guilford (ed.), Journal Of Hunter Valley History, Vol.2, No.1, Newcastle, 1986, pp.1,6.

[25] Archives Authority of N.S.W., AO Reel No. 5044, Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages,Vol. No. 115 part – 117 part. The Census of 1828 has no record of a Ellen Gorman or Denis Sheeehan.

Singleton Parish Records No.1.

[26] Whilst the land was promised to Browne by Macquarie in 1821 the official transfer was not effected to 23 August 1839 by Gipps. Diocese of Maitland Records. Deed Register No. 104A

 [27] Family History Society Singleton, (ed.), Singleton District Pioneer Register , Singleton, 1989, p.12.

Souvenir Back To Singleton, September 15 to 26, 1926, West Maitland, 1926, p.67. I have not determined whether Browne the benefactor and Browne the monumental mason were related.

[28] Souvenir. Back To Singleton, ibid. pp. 20,45,55.

[29] M. Sternbeck , Supplement to The Catholic Church in Singleton, An Historical Look At Its People And Progress,  p. 11. Singleton was the first parish for the young Irish curate.


[30]  Singleton District Pioneer Register, op.cit. p. 19

[31] Archives Authority of NSW. AO Reel No. 2922, Register of Corner’s Inquests and Magisterial Inquires, April 1864-October 1870, 4/6614.

[32] O. Mutzelburg,  How To Trace Your German Ancestors, Hale and Ironmonger, Sydney, 1989. p.14.

[33] J.F.Campbell, ‘The Genesis of Rural Settlement on the Hunter’,  The Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 12, 1926, Part 2. p.87

[34] Municipality of Singleton , Centenary of the Municipality of Singleton, 1866-1966, ,1966, p.18

[35] O.W. Powell, ‘Hospitals in the Colonies, The Changing Face of Medicine in the Sixties’, Royal Historical Society ,Queensland, Vol. 8 , No. 3, 1967-68, p. 557.

B. Dickey, ‘ The Sick Poor in N.S.W., 1840-1880: Colonial Practice in an Amateur Age’    Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 58, Pt. 1, March 1973. p. 22.

[36] B. Kingston, ‘Glad, Confident Morning’, in G.Bolton (ed.) The Oxford History of Australia, Vol. 3,  1860 -1900, Oxford University Press, Melbourne 1993,. p.121

[37] Centenary of the Municipality of  Singleton,p.30.

[38] I.Turner,`1914-1919′ , ibid. , p.355.

[39] H.Radii, `1920-29′  in Crowley,F., (ed.),  A New History of Australia,  Heinman, Melbourne, 1980, p. 395.

[40]Radii, loc. cit., p. 377.

[41] I could find no record of the birth of an Ellen Gormann in the AO records.

[42] D.Fitzpatrick, `Irish Immigrants in Australia: Patterns of Settlement and Paths of Mobility’, Australia 1888, No.2, August 1979. p.49.

[43] P.O’Farrell, The Irish in Australia, Kensington, 1987. p.72.

[44] O. Mutzelburg,  How To Trace Your German Ancestors, Hale and Ironmonger, Sydney, 1989. p.67.

J. Vondra, German Speaking Settlers in Australia, Cavalier Press ,Melbourne, 1981, p.25.

[45]J.Baldock, The Elements of Christian Symbolism, Element, Shaftesbury, 1991,p.107

[46]Inglis, op. cit., p. 245.  Ingliss writes ‘ the reformers were already at work in 1888 denouncing ‘ expensive, hideous, heathen looking headstones’


18 thoughts on “Singleton- Queen St. Cemetery – Notes

  1. Hi Terry

    I am trying to find my Great Grandfather's grave but am not having much luck. His name was Albert James Edwards and he died on 16 November 1953. On his death certificate it states that he was buried in 'Methodist Cemetery Sedgefield via Singleton. I can not find a Methodist section in the Sedgefield Cemetery and was wondering if perhaps he was buried in the Old Queen St Cemetery. Do you have access to any burial records for this cemetery that would could help me look up?



    • Hi,
      I have entries for ten EDWARDs buried in the Queen St. cemetery , but no entry for a Albert James EDWARDS. Some of the entries were for interments in the 1950's .

  2. Hi Terry,

    There is a Thomas Henry Hagan who died on 6 October 1905 at his residence in Greta, Singleton. Does he have a burial record at the Roman Catholic Cemetery?

    The person I'm actually interested in is his wife Elizabeth Reynolds, who he married on 29 Jan 1872 at the Roman Catholic Church of Singleton (making her Elizabeth Hagan). She doesn't seem to have a known birth or death record. I figure, perhaps she is buried at the same cemetery with Thomas?

    Thanks very much for your help,

  3. Hi Terry, I have been searching for years for the burial site of my Great Grandmother Ann or Anne Ryan wife of John Ryan. Ann was born in Tongy NSW in 1845 and christened 16-2-1845. Her maiden name was Tierney and her parents were Michael Tierney and Julia (Connolly) Tierney. She passed away in Singleton in 1893-1894. I think 1894 would be correct. Wondering if you could help or have you seen mention of her in your studies of the Singleton Church burials, I believe one of her siblings, namely, Mary Burke (Tierney) is buried in the Saint Patrick (Catholic) Church/Cemetery Singleton and other family members buried nearby.After years of searching I have not been able to find her burial site, maybe you are my last hope. Regards Dan Ryan

    • Hi, I could not find her burial . Neither could I find any record of her birth.
      Terry Callaghan

      • Thank you Terry for answering she must have had one of those coarse sandstone headstones and information eroded away. She died in Singleton in 1893. Somewhere there must be a record of her burial. Is there anywhere I can enquire about her burial. Ann and her husband John Ryan were residents of the Wollombi area.Most of the remaining family members including John's Mother, Elizabeth nee Pennell moved to Dalby, Qld to live where Ann's son John married Mary Agnes Lupton, my Grandmother Regards: Daniel Ryan

  4. hi, terry, Enqurie on my great grand fathers grave. MR Frederick joseph Curtis. He was a convict [Irish ] worked for the Howe, family,s land until he passed. in 1848.
    I saw a grave that looked like his grave. right near the fence. Wondering if this is his
    Such as his son Frederick Joseph Curtis died 1/ 1/ 1922 but because it was a public hoilday he may have been burried a little later & his wife Hennrietta Curtis. in the c/e section. hope you can help and also how do you get into that section where frederick,s grave is. do I have to go through the back of the school. how do i get permission. thanks Edna Poncini nee Curtis

  5. Hi Terry
    My 3x great grandfather was convict Mathew Hourigan who was sent to the Singleton area from what I have seen all the children where born there. His wife was Honora Hourigan they married at St Marys cathederal Sydney 1858. Even though I have the family in Sydney at the time of his Death Mathew died in Singleton 29th April 1878.
    Fr Fontaine is listed as the minister and he was buried on 1st May in the Roman Catholic Cemetery singleton. witnesses where john Maguire and James Quirk.
    My question is are there any Parish record on the mathew or the family. Or anything on them at all
    thank you for anything you can give me

  6. Hi Terry
    This may be a long shot, but I am running out of ideas. I am seeking to find my father's grave. He was buried in Whittingham Cemetery NSW. He is a returned solider but no one seems to be able to definitively tell me where his unmarked grave is located. I am adding the following info in the hope that you may be able to help me or may know who else I could contact. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Kind regards Sue Appleby
    Registration Number 36441

    Date of Death 2 OCT 1962




    Occupation FOREMAN MOULDER

    Sex MALE

    Age 42










    Father's Occupation FARMER

    Mother - Maiden Name HAZEL EDELINE DAVIS



    When Buried 5 OCT 1962


    Undertaker H.J. BARTROP & SON

    Minister J. ONIONS


    Witnesses G. DOYLE

    Where born MANILLA, N.S.W.

    • Hi Sue, There is no entry for him for the Whiting ham cemetery. However there are 31 unmarked graves! All I can suggest id=s the Singleton Family History Society or the Undertaker.

  7. Hi Terry

    John Brown(e) is my 3ggg grandfather. He added the "e" to his name in 1827.
    His mother was Elizabeth McNamara who was transported to Australia on the Atlas in arriving in 1802. Who John,s father was we have not been able to ascertain. His mother listed a Capatin Brown as his father however we think she may have been trying to protect her future husband Patrick Cullen who came out with Elizabeth on the Atlas. Elizabeth is buried alongside John Browne in the Old Singleton cemetery. Interestingly the name John Cullen Browne lasted for 4 generations in my family until my uncle died in 1983. He never married.
    Thomas Browne is therefore no relation to John.
    Mal Voysey

    • Hi Malcolm,

      Not sure where I posted that Thomas Browne he was a relation. Tell me where and I will correct. kr Terry

  8. My Great, Great, Great, Great grandparents Owen and Sarah Traynor both lived in the area and both died in 1882.
    They were Catholic and I am trying to get an idea of where they would be buried. It says on their Death Register Roman Catholic Cement y Singleton but I can't find them?

    • Hi Steve,
      Sarah (nee O'Heir/Hare) & Owen TRAYNOR are my 2 X Great grandparents, so we're ''Cousins"!
      Happy to make contact if you're interested...I've been back to South Armagh/Monaghan Border & checked out where they lived. I also met descendants of Owen & Sarah's siblings.


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