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Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery

Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery is one of the oldest remaining burial sites in the Illawarra area.

The cemetery was originally a burial place for the Jenkins family, who owned 'Berkeley Estate', a large area of land between Allans Creek and Lake Illawarra.

Robert Jenkins was one of the first five land grant recipients in the Illawarra, and moved to Berkeley Estate in 1817. After his sudden death in 1822, the property passed to his son, William Warren Jenkins.

William established the cemetery as a family burial place and in 1862 donated the acre of land it sits on to the Church of England. The Jenkins family are said to have called the site "God's Acre", or "God's Acre on the Hill".

The graves of several generations of the Jenkins family remain at this site. These include that of William Warren Jenkins, and his parents Robert and Jemima. Robert and Jemima were first buried at the Devonshire Street Cemetery in Sydney, but in 1901, they were exhumed due to the construction of Sydney's Central Station, and re-interred at Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery.

There are no burial sites available for purchase at this location. The only burials that are still permitted are for descendants of the Jenkins family, or members of the Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery Restoration Group who meet certain criteria.

For more information, please call us on (02) 4227 7780.

Care of Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery

In 1989, the Church of England transferred care of the Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery to Wollongong City Council.

Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery's heritage value has been recognised with a local heritage listing.

A dedicated group of volunteers, the Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery Restoration Group, has also been working at this site since 1986 to preserve its heritage and research its past.

Working with the support of Council, over the years this group has made many garden and landscape improvements, restored headstones and monuments, and installed seating, pathways, fencing and lighting. They were also instrumental in having the gates from the entrance of the original Berkeley Estate house installed at the cemetery.

For more information about the Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery Restoration Group, please visit their Facebook page.

  • Information on this page is based on the book God's Acre: Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery by Dr Tony Ball, which is held in the reference collection of Wollongong City Libraries. You can view book details on the library catalogue
  • You can also find information about the history of the Jenkins family, Berkeley Estate and the surrounding area on the libraries' website.