Newcastle’s hidden cemetery

You may not know that Newcastle’s first formal burial grounds next to Christ Church Cathedral in the heart of Newcastle, has a hidden tie to Blackbutt Reserve in Kotara. Burials ceased in the early 1800’s but there are some indications that “illegal” burials took place after the official closure in 1884.

In the early 1970’s, after seeking the appropriate approvals, Newcastle City Council moved around 170 headstones from the old cemetery as part of a clean up to transform the area into what is now known as Cathedral Park.

Many of the headstones were repurposed and used in the stonework around Blackbutt Reserve.

In 2022 an archaeological dig was commenced to test for the presence of historical archaeological relics or Aboriginal archaeological objects in areas of the park where planned landscaping and heritage interpretation works would likely take place.

These works form part of a number of improvement projects within the masterplan proposal to transform Cathedral Park into a destination location for Newcastle.