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Settlers' Park Cemetery, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: Oct 2017 to Oct 2017
Location: 63/65 Channel Highway Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australiamap
Surnames/tags: Cemeteries Australia Tasmania
Profile manager: Neil Croll private message [send private message]
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The Kingston Settlers' Park Cemetery is located at 63-65 Channel Highway Kingston. The cemetery was photographed by Neil Croll in 2017.

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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

' 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!

NameBirthDeathAgeNotesPhoto no.Coordinates
BARRETTJohn2 Oct 179415 Jul 18596442°58.553147°18.327
BESTERLaura Lucinda189126 Sep 193948Spouse: Charles Albert BESTER42°58.556147°18.326
C E D180142°58.574147°18.322
COLDBECKElsie Maggie Isabel15 Oct 18769 Apr 196286Spouse: Henry COLDBECK42°58.574147°18.322
CROSSLIEWilliam Ronnie179229 Nov 185674Spouse: Mary FIRTH; Children: Lue, Ken, Marjory42°58.574147°18.322
DIXONAlan Edward Crossley188429 Mar 195975Parents: Edward CROSSLEY, Emily CROSSLEY42°58.555147°18.327
DIXONCharlotte Emily182516 Aug 18613642°58.569147°18.322
DIXONEdward Firth9 Oct 185425 Nov 190551Spouse: Emily Victoria FIRTH42°58.554147°18.327
DIXONElenor ArabellaNov 18602 Mar 186216m42°58.569147°18.322
DIXONEmily Beatrice17 Nov 188614 Feb 196477Parents: Edward DIXON, Emily DIXON42°58.556147°18.326
DIXONEmily Victoria18 Jul 1969Spouse: Edward FIRTH42°58.554147°18.327
DIXONFrederick William185710 Dec 19246742°58.574147°18.322
FIRTHAlbert Alexander Crossley27 May 186515 Aug 19296442°58.560147°18.325
FIRTHCharlotte Amelia18607 Oct 186442°58.569147°18.322
FIRTHD A M C188510 Jun 196075Service: 40 Btn. AIF42°58.574147°18.322
FIRTHDarcy M C20 Jun 1960Service: 40th Btn. 1st AIF42°58.574147°18.322
FIRTHEdna Jean9 Apr 192411 July 195329Parents: J T, J FIRTH42°58.563147°18.324
FIRTHElla Mary6 Sep 186929 Jan 194777Parents: John Thomas FIRTH, Jane FIRTH42°58.558147°18.325
FIRTHErnest187019 Feb 193242°58.574147°18.322
FIRTHFrances Matilda19 Sep 183228 Nov 19158342°58.569147°18.322
FIRTHHenry W19 Jun 1919Spouse: Mary Jane FIRTH42°58.570147°18.322
FIRTHJames Charles184930 July 185016m42°58.569147°18.322
FIRTHJames Charles30 Oct 181519Spouse: Tabitha FIRTH42°58.569147°18.322
FIRTHJane4 Dec 18438 Aug 193087Spouse: John Thomas FIRTH42°58.574147°18.322
FIRTHJohn Thomas25 Mar 18384 May 190364Spouse: Jane FIRTH42°58.559147°18.325
FIRTHJoseph Crossley179024 Nov 18657542°58.569147°18.322
FIRTHMary Jane16 Jan 1892Spouse: Henry W FIRTH42°58.571147°18.322
FIRTHTabitha179716 Apr 186972Spouse: James Charles FIRTH42°58.569147°18.322
HOPKINSJanet Victoria18657 July 189530Spouse: T W HOPKINS42°58.572147°18.322
HOPKINSMadeline Grace186410 Jun 193369Spouse: F E HOPKINS42°58.572147°18.322
J C F & A F42°58.573147°18.321
JACKSONSarah179117 Oct 185766Spouse: Thomas JACKSON42°58.570147°18.322
JAMESBirdie189510 Feb 198489Spouse: Roydon JAMES42°58.574147°18.322
JAMESEmma10 Mar 19235742°58.574147°18.322
JAMESEmma Cotton185610 Mar 19235742°58.574147°18.322
JAMESGeorge186222 Sep 19286642°58.574147°18.322
JAMESRoydon18907 Jul 193646Spouse: Birdie JAMES42°58.574147°18.322
KEENEmma Eugene185615 May 191458Spouse: Walter KEEN42°58.570147°18.322
LINDSAYMary Ann184110 Apr 18561542°58.569147°18.322
LUCASMinnie T28 Jul 186320 Sep 193865Parents: John Thomas, Jane FIRTH; Spouse: E F LUCAS42°58.560147°18.324
SMALLHORNFrances Martha189215 Aug 195169Spouse: Herbert E SMALLHORN42°58.562147°18.324
THEISSENAlfred William18779 Dec 194265Spouse: Ruby THIESSEN, Children: Nancy, Douglas42°58.557147°18.326
WESTERNRene Clarissa19 Jan 189126 Jun 196069Spouse: C C WESTON42°58.574147°18.322
WISEEdith Eugene186922 May193162Parents: John Thomas FIRTH, Jane FIRTH; Spouse: W H WISE42°58.561147°18.325

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Thank you so much Neil for putting together this very informative page about where my 4th Great Grandmother Sarah Jackson is buried.
posted by Jenny Forward