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The People of Rowes Hill

This database has been compiled by volunteers of Berrima District Historical & Family History Society to record as many burials as possible, both marked and unmarked graves. Biographical information has been included using sources such as church records, newspapers, cemetery transcriptions, Ryerson Index and records held in the archives of the Society.

The database and research work was instigated by Society volunteer the late Carol Nolan to whom this project is dedicated.


Brief history of the cemetery:

Land at Lower Mittagong was first taken up during the 1820s along the Argyle or Old South Road as it later became known.  As the area became more populated and with the nearest cemetery, church and school some distance away, the need for such amenities became paramount.

In 1854 farmer Thomas Troy purchased 500 acres of land at Lower Mittagong.  Soon after, he donated two acres in the northern corner of his land for public use.  One acre was for the establishment of a church and school and the other acre for use as an Anglican Cemetery.  The first building on the site, used as both school and church was a simple slab and bark structure built in the mid-1850s.  It was replaced by a more substantial stone building in 1862.  The same year the church /school land was transferred from Thomas Troy to the Sydney Diocese of The Church of England.

No definite date can be established for the first burial in the cemetery site.  The earliest existing headstone is dated 1868, however it was not until 1871 that Thomas Troy conveyed the one acre cemetery site to Reverend James Samuel Hassall of Berrima, Clerk in Holy Orders, and Trustees, to be used as a burial ground in connection with the United Church of England and Ireland in the colony of New South Wales.

Upwards of 800 people are believed to be buried in this cemetery in both marked and unmarked graves, with 450 individuals listed on existing headstones.  The cemetery has been in continuous use since at least 1868 with many of the area’s pioneers buried within its boundaries, including Thomas Troy and his family.

During the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century a number of children from the Mittagong State Farm Homes were buried here.  The younger babies were buried along the southern fence line.  No headstones mark the graves of these forgotten children.

The name Rowes Hill Cemetery is derived from the location of the cemetery on the hill known locally as Rowes Hill.  The Rowe family had extensive landholdings in the area during the 1800s.  Management of the cemetery now known as Rowes Hill Cemetery was transferred from the Anglican Church to Wingecarribee Shire Council in the year 2000.