The Cathedral Park Master Plan was adopted by Council on 3 July 2012. The Master Plan has been developed by The City of Newcastle to guide the revitalisation of Cathedral Park.
Located adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral and within the city centre, Cathedral Park is the site of Newcastle’s first cemetery and the resting place of 3300 of the city’s early residents. The park occupies a spectacular position adjacent the Christ Church Cathedral which attracts upwards of 80,000 visitors each year. This visitation and the stories waiting to be told present the opportunity to provide a showpiece for the city.
Cathedral Park comprises two parcels of land, the former Christ Church Cemetery (acquired in 1966) and the adjoining site of the former cottage ‘Mulimbah’ (acquired in 1990). The park is now classified as Community Land and is zoned as open space parkland.
Council acquired the site from the Anglican Church following the creation of the Christ Church Cathedral, Cemetery, Act, of 1966. Works on site to convert the cemetery from burial ground to parkland commenced in 1972. Eighty-four of the headstones were moved from the site of their associated burial and placed in rows on the east boundary of the park. Many in are poor condition despite the importance of the headstones in understanding the role of the park as a place of burial.
In recognition of the importance of the park to Newcastle, Council has prepared a Conservation & Interpretation Plan. Through this plan the surviving monuments are to be cared for and stabilised in accordance with heritage best practice. In addition, a Master Plan has now been adopted by Council to guide staged improvements to the park landscape and provide a framework for conservation. In particular the plans seeks to –
- Stabilise the surviving headstone monuments commensurate with their state heritage significance
- Move the headstones back to their recorded burial position as a means of restoring as much of the cemetery’s layout as possible
- Create a beautiful, contemporary and engaging public space which integrates parkland and heritage interpretation uses.
The first stage of this project has already commenced, supported by a $150,000 grant from the NSW Heritage Council. This work is due for completion by 2013. The Federal Government recently announced additional funding of more than $220,000 for the next stage of the project.
The Christ Church Cathedral, Moveable Collections, Cemetery and Park are listed on the State Heritage Register in recognition of the importance of the place to the people of New South Wales.