Here you will find answers to some of the most common queries the Friends of St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta receive.
When I go past, the Cemetery gates are always closed. At what times can I visit?
The Cemetery can be visited at anytime during the day. The gates may be closed as a deterrent to those who want to dump rubbish etc. The gates are also closed as a safety measure when mowing operations are under way. Usually there is a sign on the gates indicating this operation. Dates for mowing are available from the St. John’s Cathedral Office, on the St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta Facebook page, and on this website: click the three dots or lines (depending on your device) in the top right hand corner of your screen to see the St. John’s Facebook feed displayed under “LATEST NEWS” (A personal Facebook account is not needed to view this).
I’ve noticed some major damage or a potential safety issue within the Cemetery. What can I do?
Please report this as soon as possible by contacting the Friends of St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta or by calling St. John’s Cathedral on +612 9891 0700.
Is there a plan of the Cemetery I can look at or get?
There is a basic plan of the Cemetery layout on the notice board as you enter through the lych gate. This general plan shows the four Sections and the Row order for each section. Further information regarding those graves sites with headstones is available from the Cemetery reference book, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St John’s, by Judith Dunn. This publication may be viewed at the St. John’s Cathedral Office, Centenary Square, Parramatta.
I’m not sure where my ancestor’s grave is. How can I find out?
If your ancestor has a headstone then you can check the location by referring to Judith Dunn’s book, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St John’s. If there is no mention of your ancestor in this book then there is no headstone and, unfortunately, no existing record of exactly where your ancestor’s grave is located. Please note that the Parish Register of Burials does not provide information about burial locations.
I want to clean the stonework on my ancestor’s grave. What can I use that will give the best results?
As St John’s Cemetery is a Heritage Site, the cleaning of grave sites with anything other than water and a soft cloth or VERY soft brush is strictly prohibited. Any chemicals cause deterioration of the sandstone and metal work. The Friends of St John’s Cemetery have twice yearly Working Bees and we urge you to become a part of the group where you can join in cleaning your ancestor’s grave or “adopt” another grave to contribute to the maintenance of the Cemetery. For announcements regarding Working Bee dates, refer to the St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta Facebook page or this website: click the three dots or lines (depending on your device) in the top right hand corner of your screen to see the St. John’s Facebook feed displayed under “LATEST NEWS” (A personal Facebook account is not needed to view this).
I want to get rid of the weeds around my ancestor’s grave. What can I use to remove them completely and permanently?
Weeds can be removed by hand, carefully, taking care not to pull weeds from any stonework. The use of poison is strictly forbidden. There are very strict rules and guidelines for weed removal as St John’s Cemetery is a Heritage Site.
We urge you to join the Friends of St John’s Cemetery Working Bee where weed removal is closely monitored to ensure it falls within the guidelines laid down by the Heritage Committee.
I want to plant some bulbs on my ancestor’s grave and a rose bush at the foot of the plot. Who can I see to arrange watering etc. when I’m unable to do so?
The Friends of St John’s Cemetery encourage everyone to care for the graves of ancestors but, as the site is Heritage listed, plantings should be in keeping with the time period of the site. Please contact the Friends to discuss whether prospective plantings are authentic to the period.
Unfortunately, there is no one available on a regular basis to tend to watering, weeding and maintenance of the area. The Friends have a Working Bee twice a year to help keep the Cemetery in order and we rely on members and interested persons to lend their support.
I want to put a plaque on my ancestor’s grave. Can I do this?
The Friends of St John’s Cemetery has a Plaques Policy, which you can view here. Plaques MUST NOT be attached to graves or any stonework. Permission MUST be obtained to place any plaque or notice within the Cemetery.
Should you wish to proceed with an application for a new plaque, please contact the Friends to discuss your application.
The stonework on my ancestor’s grave needs repair. Would you please recommend someone who can do this?
St John’s Cemetery is a Heritage listed site and, as such, any activity must be approved by the Friends of St John’s Cemetery. There are strict guidelines for any restoration work proposed or planned for grave sites.
If you wish to undertake any work on a grave site, then you MUST contact the Friends to obtain assistance and information regarding the processes which must be followed.
What do I do with the weeds and brambles I have removed from my ancestor’s grave?
As there is no regular waste disposal service for the Cemetery, you are advised have rubbish bags with you if you intend to weed your ancestor’s grave site and to take green waste away with you.
Alternatively, you may wish to join one of the Friends’ Working Bees. We provide green waste bags and arrange for a collection of the refuse after the operation. Parramatta Council actively supports us in this matter.
I’d like to support St Johns Cemetery. How do I do this?
You can support St John’s Cemetery in the following ways:
- You can become a Friend for the cost of $5.00 per year or $10 for a family. As a member you will receive notification of General Meetings, Guest Speakers, Working Bees and other activities designed to promote the Cemetery as an integral part of Parramatta and as Australia’s oldest surviving cemetery.
- You can make a donation to the Friends of St John’s Cemetery knowing your contribution will be put towards much needed repairs and the maintenance of the Cemetery.
- Follow us (and invite your friends to do the same) on social media at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta.
- Join and actively participate in our Facebook group, Friends of St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta where you can claim your St. John’s ancestors, connect with fellow researchers, share photos of the Cemetery and information about those buried there.