Historic and heritage value
There are two known cemeteries which were originally established at Pioneer Park – the Church of England Cemetery and the Wesleyan Cemetery located along Wright Street. The table below relates to the remaining headstones located in the parkland. In 1965 these sites were considered to be an eyesore and due to vandalism and neglect many headstones were damaged and smashed, so the sites were bulldozed and converted to parkland. The remaining headstones which were salvaged are currently located at the corner of Church and Drew Streets, East Devonport. The earliest remaining headstone is dated 1857 and is that of Mr Isaac Stevens, who built Torquay’s first jetty, hotel and many cottages in Pardoe and Thomas Streets. The headstones which escaped the bulldozer’s blade were re-erected with no regard for previous family grouping.
The East Devonport Cemetery headstones cannot be effectively described as a cemetery even though they may be within their original site. They have become a cultural feature in one corner of the open park but remain the property of the Church to which they belong. The number of burials exceeds the number of surviving headstones and it is fortunate that two burial registers cover the interments.
The East Devonport Pioneer Park Cemetery (also known as East Devonport Cemetery and Church of England Cemetery), is located next to St Paul’s Church of England, which was built in 1876 and opened for services in July 1879. At the time of building, the City was divided into two townships, one being Formby and the other Torquay. The cemetery became disused and was offered to Council for development into a reserve by St Pauls and All Saints Parish Council on 25 August 1969.
The names of those interred in the East Devonport Pioneer Park Cemetery are inscribed in gold lettering on polished timber and placed in St Paul’s Church of England. A commemorative cairn to honour the pioneers for the area is located within the nearby park area.
|Local/State/National Significance||Local significance|
|Title Details/Lot No/Site Characteristics|
|Address||17 Thomas Street, East Devonport|
|Public Open Space Classification||Sub regional, family/social/recreational|
|First Recorded Burial||1857 – Mr Isaac Stevens|
|Number of Recorded Burials||Difficult to ascertain due to missing and deterioration of headstones|
|Number of Reservations||Nil|
|Denominations/parish||Heritage Trustees of the Diocese of Tasmania|