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A hidden cemetery under a school

There is a call out for family members who may have ancestors buried in the old Coopers Flat cemetery, which is now nestled under the school playground of St Pius X College in Chatswood, in the northern suburbs of Sydney.

Coopers Flat Cemetery was the main area where North Shore residents were buried from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. In 1863, William Lithgow gave about three acres of land for a Catholic Cemetery. It later became known as Coopers Flat cemetery because of a hut nearby belonging to a man called Cooper.

An early photo of Coopers Flat Cemetery showing headstones in the background. Courtesy St Pius X College website.

Few of the headstones survive but on 18th December 1985, the community of Christian Brothers, attached to St Pius X College, formally dedicated their chapel as the Coopers Flat Memorial Chapel to the memory of those buried there.

St Pius College historian, Tony Cunneen, will be compiling and writing the life history of those interred. Local historian, Joan Antarakis and the Willoughby Historical Society have documented a long list of those buried in the now hidden cemetery and interested readers can go and see if they have ancestors who may be buried there.

It is believed the list of those buried may not be complete, so if you believe you have an ancestor buried in the cemetery and not included, now is the time to ensure they are added.

Contact the Willoughby Historical Society on (02) 9410 3203 if you believe you can help.


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