Location: 63/65 Channel Highway Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia
Surnames/tags: Cemeteries Australia Tasmania
The Kingston Settlers' Park Cemetery is located at 63-65 Channel Highway Kingston. The cemetery was photographed by Neil Croll in 2017.
Text of main information board
Settlers Park A family cemetery'
This little cemetery gives a glimpse into the stories behind some of early Kingston's pioneer families – and also into the district's pioneer Wesleyan and Methodist community, who once met for worship in a tiny timber chapel that stood close to this site.
While known as Settlers Park today, this little cemetery was alternatively known as the Wesleyan or Methodist Cemetery and was used for well over 120 years by local Browns River and Kingston families from the 1830s until well into the mid 20th century.
The site of the Settlers Park Cemetery was once part of W.T. Firth's grant, donated to the Wesleyan Church by his father J. Crossley Firth in the 1830s. In 1838, the cemetery contained a small weatherboard chapel (see illustration) which was erected on the south eastern corner of the property. A 1868 plan of the cemetery also shows a small shed on the eastern side of the property.
Today the cemetery is no longer used but still contains the remains and sometimes ornate Victorian headstones of prominent local families including the Firths, Jamses and Dixons.
As the details inscribed on the headstones are lost to time, this interpretation project will help preserve some details for the future.
Who was Ned Ludd?
In the early 1800s, organised groups of textile workers roamed the cities and towns of the English Midlands, burning industrial mills and smashing the new-fangled mechanised weaving looms that threatened to take away their skilled jobs and destroy cottage industries.
They were dubbed 'Luddites' and they took their name from Ned Ludd, an apprentice knitter in the 1770s. Ned took a hammer to his knitting frame – not as industrial sabotage, but just because his father ordered him to get back to work1
In 1812, a law was passed making frame-breaking a capital offence. The Luddites were charged with high treason – many were executed and others were transported to Van Diemen's Land for their crimes.
Joseph Crossley Firth, who is buried in this cemetery, was a Luddite – he escaped the gallows to become a respected citizen in the new colony. Ned Ludd's name lives on, even today – in the 21st century, someone who hasn't kept up with the age of computers and the internet might describe themselves as 'a bit of a Luddite'.
The first of the Firths
'...you will be drawn upon a hurdle to a place of execution, there to be hanged by the neck until you are dead; afterwards your heads to be separated from your bodies and your bodies to be divided into four quarters at the disposal of His Majesty…'
That was the punishment for high treason in England in 1820, when Joseph Firth, a 30 year-old linen-weaver from Barnsley, pleaded guilty to the charge. He and 21 others were the leaders of a planned uprising to protest against new laws that permitted mechanisation in the textile factories.
The weavers and shoemakers of Barnsley were fortunate – instead of the death sentence, they made the long and dangerous voyage to the Australian colonies aboard a convict ship. In 1822 he walked down the gangplank to begin a new life – a life that would be marked by hard work, business success and community service.
Joseph's first assignment in Hobart was as gatekeeper of the timber yards behind the old wharf on Hunter Street. In the same year he arrives (1822) his wife Tabitha joined him in Van Diemen's Land, bringing their children Joseph and Mary Ann.
The Firths were a Colonial success story – after only ten years, they owned property in Hobart, Sandy Bay and near here at Brown's River, where the house 'Wharncliff' still stands. They had firm religious beliefs and were strong supporters of the early Wesleyan community, donating land at this spot for the district's original Wesleyan Methodist Chapel – the first place of worship constructed south of Hobart.
This little burial ground once lay alongside the timber chapel, which welcomed worshipers every Sunday until 1910. Today, only the grave markers and the Firth family vault remain, echoes in stone of pioneers who crossed the world to make new, successful and useful lives in Tasmania; and of people from the early Methodist community who followed them through the years.
Names that ring bells
There are more than ten Firths buried here in Settlers Park Cemetery – but as you wander along the gravestones here, you'll find names that have their own stories.
The Cottons came from Wales and settled on the East Coast, where their descendants still farm and grow vines on the lovely property Kelvedon, south of Swansea. The Hazells are a well-known family, with a long tradition of enterprise and business initiative, as well as service to the community and local government.
And can you find the gravestone of Emma Eugenie Keen, 'beloved wife of Walter Keen'? You'll probably see the Keen name in your kitchen cupboard – Walter's ancestor Joseph settled at Brown's River in 1843, ran a bakery and general store and began making the condiments and sauces that are still popular around the world. It was Joseph Keen's son-in-law Horace who helped write the Keen name into history, branding a South Hobart hillside with white stones, back in 1915. University students once changes the words to read HELL'S CURSE – but it was soon restored and it remains KEEN'S CURRY today. The strange case of the missing timber
When members of the early Wesleyan community in the Browns River area were planning th build their first place of worship, a supportive settler named Baynton generously gave money and sawn timber worth £50. It was a significant donation – but his fresh-cut hardwood boards were never nailed to the framework of the little chapel.
Overnight, the pile of timber vanished! Next morning Mr Baynton noticed traces of fresh sawdust on his own bullock dray – and was puzzled that his bullock team seemed exhausted. No wonder – they had been busy during the night! In the hours of darkness, an assigned servant had loaded up the timber, hitched up the bullocks and carted the stolen goods to North West Bay, where the planks were sold to a sawyer, to be sold in Hobart. But the community didn't give up – inspired by Hobart's Wesleyan minister, Rev Joseph Orton, they cleared the land that had been donated by Joseph Firth, arranged new donations of timber from local sawmillers and engaged carpenter Mr Fisher to finish the job. While the building work continued, Wesleyan services were held in Mr Baynton's own house – no doubt without the presence of the untrustworthy convict servant!
|BARRETT||John||2 Oct 1794||15 Jul 1859||64||42°58.553||147°18.327|
|BESTER||Laura Lucinda||1891||26 Sep 1939||48||Spouse: Charles Albert BESTER||42°58.556||147°18.326|
|C E D||1801||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|COLDBECK||Elsie Maggie Isabel||15 Oct 1876||9 Apr 1962||86||Spouse: Henry COLDBECK||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|CROSSLIE||William Ronnie||1792||29 Nov 1856||74||Spouse: Mary FIRTH; Children: Lue, Ken, Marjory||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|DIXON||Alan Edward Crossley||1884||29 Mar 1959||75||Parents: Edward CROSSLEY, Emily CROSSLEY||42°58.555||147°18.327|
|DIXON||Charlotte Emily||1825||16 Aug 1861||36||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|DIXON||Edward Firth||9 Oct 1854||25 Nov 1905||51||Spouse: Emily Victoria FIRTH||42°58.554||147°18.327|
|DIXON||Elenor Arabella||Nov 1860||2 Mar 1862||16m||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|DIXON||Emily Beatrice||17 Nov 1886||14 Feb 1964||77||Parents: Edward DIXON, Emily DIXON||42°58.556||147°18.326|
|DIXON||Emily Victoria||18 Jul 1969||Spouse: Edward FIRTH||42°58.554||147°18.327|
|DIXON||Frederick William||1857||10 Dec 1924||67||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||Albert Alexander Crossley||27 May 1865||15 Aug 1929||64||42°58.560||147°18.325|
|FIRTH||Charlotte Amelia||1860||7 Oct 1864||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||D A M C||1885||10 Jun 1960||75||Service: 40 Btn. AIF||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||Darcy M C||20 Jun 1960||Service: 40th Btn. 1st AIF||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||Edna Jean||9 Apr 1924||11 July 1953||29||Parents: J T, J FIRTH||42°58.563||147°18.324|
|FIRTH||Ella Mary||6 Sep 1869||29 Jan 1947||77||Parents: John Thomas FIRTH, Jane FIRTH||42°58.558||147°18.325|
|FIRTH||Ernest||1870||19 Feb 1932||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||Frances Matilda||19 Sep 1832||28 Nov 1915||83||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||Henry W||19 Jun 1919||Spouse: Mary Jane FIRTH||42°58.570||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||James Charles||1849||30 July 1850||16m||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||James Charles||30 Oct 1815||19||Spouse: Tabitha FIRTH||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||Jane||4 Dec 1843||8 Aug 1930||87||Spouse: John Thomas FIRTH||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||John Thomas||25 Mar 1838||4 May 1903||64||Spouse: Jane FIRTH||42°58.559||147°18.325|
|FIRTH||Joseph Crossley||1790||24 Nov 1865||75||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||Mary Jane||16 Jan 1892||Spouse: Henry W FIRTH||42°58.571||147°18.322|
|FIRTH||Tabitha||1797||16 Apr 1869||72||Spouse: James Charles FIRTH||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|HOPKINS||Janet Victoria||1865||7 July 1895||30||Spouse: T W HOPKINS||42°58.572||147°18.322|
|HOPKINS||Madeline Grace||1864||10 Jun 1933||69||Spouse: F E HOPKINS||42°58.572||147°18.322|
|J C F & A F||42°58.573||147°18.321|
|JACKSON||Sarah||1791||17 Oct 1857||66||Spouse: Thomas JACKSON||42°58.570||147°18.322|
|JAMES||Birdie||1895||10 Feb 1984||89||Spouse: Roydon JAMES||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|JAMES||Emma||10 Mar 1923||57||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|JAMES||Emma Cotton||1856||10 Mar 1923||57||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|JAMES||George||1862||22 Sep 1928||66||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|JAMES||Roydon||1890||7 Jul 1936||46||Spouse: Birdie JAMES||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|KEEN||Emma Eugene||1856||15 May 1914||58||Spouse: Walter KEEN||42°58.570||147°18.322|
|LINDSAY||Mary Ann||1841||10 Apr 1856||15||42°58.569||147°18.322|
|LUCAS||Minnie T||28 Jul 1863||20 Sep 1938||65||Parents: John Thomas, Jane FIRTH; Spouse: E F LUCAS||42°58.560||147°18.324|
|SMALLHORN||Frances Martha||1892||15 Aug 1951||69||Spouse: Herbert E SMALLHORN||42°58.562||147°18.324|
|THEISSEN||Alfred William||1877||9 Dec 1942||65||Spouse: Ruby THIESSEN, Children: Nancy, Douglas||42°58.557||147°18.326|
|WESTERN||Rene Clarissa||19 Jan 1891||26 Jun 1960||69||Spouse: C C WESTON||42°58.574||147°18.322|
|WISE||Edith Eugene||1869||22 May1931||62||Parents: John Thomas FIRTH, Jane FIRTH; Spouse: W H WISE||42°58.561||147°18.325|
- Login to request to the join the Trusted List so that you can edit and add images.
- Private Messages: Send a private message to the Profile Manager. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
- Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)
- Public Q&A: These will appear above and in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum. (Best for anything directed to the wider genealogy community.)