West Dapto Catholic Cemetery

I went in search today of the grave of two of my ancestors – John Hoare and Elizabeth Love – who are buried in the West Dapto Catholic Cemetery, near Wollongong. “Search” is probably not the right word to use since I had a guide, someone who’d been there before, Terry Hore, who also maintains a strong interest in genealogy. Terry and I have been corresponding for a couple of years now, but today was the first time we’d met.

I’d caught the train down, and he’d driven up from Victoria for the annual church service at the cemetery which, sadly, couldn’t go ahead due to the wet conditions over the last few days which had left much of the cemetery bogged. Although called off, we still headed out to the cemetery for a look around. But not before first going to meet up with some other distant relatives at a registered club for lunch. It was great fun to meet people I have a connection with, though haven’t known previously. All of us have an interest in family history, so the conversation flowed naturally.

Who were John and Elizabeth Hore/Hoare?

John Hoare, who was originally from County Wexford, came to Australia in 1801. Researcher, Graham Lewis believes he enlisted in the Royal Navy at the Port of London on September 7, 1795. Initially he was on HMS Royal William, and soon afterwards HMS Impregnable. He moved to the HMS Defiance in 1796. On board the HMS Defiance Hoare was one of a number of people found guilty of their involvement in a naval mutiny on board the ship in 1798. He was transported to Australia and was imprisoned both in Sydney and on Norfolk Island.

A few yeas later at St Phillip’s Church he married Elizabeth, the daughter of John and Martha Love and they had a large family. In their first few years of marriage John and Elizabeth lived at the Field of Mars before moving to the Campbelltown Districts of Airds and Appin where they began to farm with the assistance of convict labour. By 1828, John and Elizabeth had increased their land holdings to 90 acres which was cleared and fully cultivated and they had eight cattle.

I am unaware, at this stage, how they came to spend their later years of their lives and to be buried at Dapto. A possible reason is that a few of their children married people in Wollongong, and so they may have spent their latter years closer to their younger children. Researcher, Kath Raulings mentions in a comment below she believes John Hore “had land at Illawarra and was granted a convict groom and farm servant. In 1839, both father and son had land at Dapto. See 1839 NSW Gov Gaz. pp.1353, 1378 and again in 1840 pp. 152, 171, 425 and 706. Some of these entries also relate to land in Murrumbidgee district (possibly Cumberoona) and at Camden. I have a feeling I remember seeing in one of the gazettes that there was some land transferred or given between the Hores and Rixons around Dapto. Hope this might help.”.

John died on April 25, 1862 (6420/1862), while Elizabeth died on March 3, 1878 (448/1878).

As it’s the 150th anniversary of John’s death in 2012, I guess it’s no surprise the inscription on the headstone has faded with time.

A lovely, fascinating day…

And with thanks to Terry, I’ve managed to locate a photograph of the grave of my great-great grandfather, Thomas Rixon.

Thomas Rixon grave at Bombala Cemetery
With thanks to Terry Hore, here is a photograph of Thomas Rixon’s grave at Bombala Cemetery

3 thoughts on “West Dapto Catholic Cemetery

Add yours

    1. Hi Andrew, yes quite possibly. The family is large and spread far and wide, especially throughout regional NSW and up into Queensland. I’m part of the family with Hoare spelling, though there are lots of Hore spelling descendants. I also understand there are some Haws. And of course there’s another spelling and I’m quite sure we have a few of those too. James

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