Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Lone Grave - To whom does it belong?

View of Grave (fenced) looking towards Withers Road
In William Harvey Reserve in Sandlewood Close at Rouse Hill in northwestern Sydney, there lies a single unmarked grave with a granite headstone. It has a single large cross etched into the stone. 

The site of the grave lies high up on the banks of the nearby Caddies Creek, facing in a south-westerly direction, just off Withers Road.

View of grave on oval shaped mound 

View of grave with stones surround

View showing a large cross etched into the headstone

View of grave from the rear showing the rounded top and stone shoulders

Up until about 2001, the area was known as Gravestone Park. There are no markings to identify the possible inhabitant(s) of the grave. So who does it belong to? 

There are two possible explanations.

The signage at the site states that "the grave of adult size, was constructed between 1840's and 1860's,and is probably the grave of someone who lived and worked on this farm and was buried there as there was no cemetery in the area at the time". [The earliest gravestone  found in the nearby Rouse Hill General Cemetery is dated 1870].

An interesting reference and possible alternative explanation is found in the book, Newcastle Its First Twenty Years:The Irish Rebellion and the Settlement of Newcastle 1804. Narrated and published by John W Delaney, Stockton 2004 [page 57]

Delaney nominates the site as that of the battle of Vinegar Hill of 1804, and cites some local oral tradition of it being a mass grave for the Irish rebels who fell there in the 1804 battle. He postulates that during the battle a great number of unarmed Irishman fled in all directions and were killed on site. A traditional story is that over the next few days after the battle, friends gathered the bodies of the dead Irishmen, particularly at Caddies Creek and placed them in a mass grave, high up from flood level, in the soft mounds of Caddies Creek.


Blog prepared by Mary McGuinness

All photos taken 15 April 2014

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