Historical park and museum provides Sydney tranquillity

May 6, 2017 by  

Residents of St Leonards and its neighbouring suburb of Crows Nest can currently take time off to enjoy a quiet shady spot nestled beside the Warringah Freeway.

The Sextons Cottage Museum is in the St Thomas Rest Park, once the first European cemetery on the north shore of Sydney. Over 700 people were buried here, and it is now a popular public park. The cottage dates back to the 1850s and was the home of the St Thomas’ Church sexton. It was also where bodies were laid out before burial. In 1984, the building was converted into a museum.

The land for the cemetery was a gift to the Parish of St Leonards by Alexander Berry, whose family mausoleum is still on the site. Another prominent early settler buried here is Edward Wollstonecraft, after whom the nearby suburb of Wollstonecraft is named. Today, visitors can walk through settings that are often seen on picture postcards. There are signs throughout the park for those wishing to take a self-guided tour, and printed flyers are available from the museum.

The museum is open from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm every Thursday afternoon from February to December, except for public holidays. The rest park is open every day, and the entrance is at 250 West Street. There is street parking nearby.