Settlers' Park Cemetery, Kingston, Tasmania

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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.

How to get there Kingston Settlers Park cemetery is about 13 Km south of Hobart. From the central business district of Hobart, take Davey St and the Southern Outlet south for 13 Km. Then, after going under an overpass, take a turnoff to the left marked 'Kingston Beach', veer left at the next road entry, joining the Huon Highway, go through the next roundabout and take the second right onto the Channel Highway. Pass through the Channel Court shopping area, straight ahead through the next roundabout (Freeman St and Maranoa Rd) and Settlers Park is on the left before the next roundabout (Summerleas Rd).

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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!

Settlers' Park Cemetery, 63-65 Channel Highway Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia

Name Birth Death Age Notes Coordinates
South East
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
Crosley 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: Nicholas 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 1933 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
Thiessen 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



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