History

The Mount Street Cemetery was consecrated by Bishop Pompallier on 6 January 1841. It was the primary location for Roman Catholic burials until it closed in 1891, with further burials in family plots continuing until 1954. The cemetery has remained in the care of the Archdiocese of Wellington, although there were discussion between Victoria University of Wellington, the Archdiocese and the Wellington City Council on the possible management, reuse or sale of the site. Due to the uncertain future of the cemetery, the Friends of Mount Street Cemetery was formed in 1992, and in 1997 the Environment Court ruled that cemetery be protected in the Wellington City District Plan. Since 2010 The Friends of Mount Street Cemetery have joined with the Archdiocese and University to work together to conserve the landscape of the cemetery as a historic site and an amenity for all.

1840: An area of two acres was allocated specifically for Roman Catholic burials by the New Zealand Company

1841: Wednesday 6 January, Bishop Pompallier consecrated the ground.

1846: Presbytery built at Mount Street, and used by Father O’Reilly, Wellington’s first Roman Catholic priest.

1877: Catholic cemeteries of the Diocese of Wellington brought under the Cemeteries Management Act.

1891: Cemetery closing order, at the same time the three other Wellington town cemeteries were vested in the City Corporation as one cemetery (Bolton Street). Mount Street was not included in the vesting.

1896: Formation of Grave Yard Road (now McKenzie Terrace) resulted in slips and exposure of graves at the perimeter of the site.

1918: A fire at St Mary of the Angels church destroys most of the burial records.

1927: Over half the site was sold, and construction of Waiteata Road authorized.

1936:  McKenzie Terrace was relocated on to cemetery land, and declared a public access way. A deputation asked the City Corporation to take over the cemetery as a public reserve. This did not happen.

1954: Last burial at Mount Street Cemetery.

1955: Exchanges of land between Victoria University of Wellington, Archdiocese of Wellington and the Wellington City Council. The cemetery remains the responsibility of the Church.

1959: Clearing and removal of rubble (including broken monuments) from the cemetery.

1967: City Council gives approval in principle for a Catholics Halls of Residence Committee to close the cemetery and to re-inter the remains.

1991: The Archdiocese of Wellington approached the University regarding the possible sale of the site, subject to consultation with the descendants of those buried in the cemetery.

1992: The Friends of Mount Street Cemetery formed.

1997: Environment Court ruling for the cemetery to be protected in the Wellington City District Plan.

2010: The Friends of Mount Street Cemetery re-formed in connection with Archdiocese of Wellington.

2011: Geophysical survey of the cemetery to locate grave sites.


Sources: Arlington M. Unquiet earth: a history of the Bolton street cemetery App.1 (1978).

              Walzl T. Mount Street Cemetery Historical Associations (1999)

              Bowman I. Conservation Plan Mount Street Cemetery, Wellington (2008)


Other information

See also Mount Street Cemetery A YouTube video (11 October 2010) where the 'Friends of the Mount Street Cemetery' walk around cemetery and explain some of the headstones and some of the people buried there.