Catholic section: A great deal lost

Catholic section

The Catholic section used to be much bigger.

Large parts of the Catholic (and Anglican) sections of the Symonds Street cemetery were removed when the motorways were built through these gullies, in the mid 1960s.

Exhumed remains were re-interred under memorials within the Anglican and Catholic sections. More than 2,000 Catholic graves were disturbed in this way. There were more graves uncovered with no headstone or record of burial – so the numbers of disturbed remains is higher than the names on the memorial.

The Catholic section of the cemetery once extended right up to St Benedict’s – the red brick Church you can see across the motorway to the south of the Catholic memorial. The brick church was built in 1888, to replace an impressive wooden church that had burned down in 1886. Lack of funds meant the new church was not properly completed until 1955.

Catholic and Presbyterian - what's the difference?

While both of these Christian churches accept the word of the Bible, the Catholic church maintains that the traditions of the church itself also contribute to authority. Presbyterians believe the constructs of humankind must always be subservient to the word of God as it appears in the Bible.

A visible difference between Catholic and Presbyterian churches is in their design. Catholic Churches display examples of human artistry – sculptures and paintings – as celebrations of God-given abilities. Presbyterian Churches reflect a more humble approach, and are generally less adorned.

Images and map

  • <p>Looking from the Prebyterian burial ground towards the Catholic cemetery with St Benedicts Church in the background, 1882. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-995.</em></p>
  • <p>Catholic section of the cemetery on the corner of Symonds Street with St Benedict's Church, situated on the corner of St Benedict's Street and East Street. The headstones of the Dignan famiily in the midground, date unknow. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC11.</em></p>
  • <p>Looking across the Catholic graveyard to St Benedict's church, c1880s. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 589-163.</em></p>
  • <p>The southern end of the Catholic burial ground, now lost to the motorway, with St Benedicts Church in the background, c.1966. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 968-110.</em></p>
  • <p>This corner of the Catholic cemetery on Symond Street was used as a rubbish tip up till 1919. The entrance the the Catholic section was a stone lychgate (centre) which was removed in 1945, c1919. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19190320-37-3.</em></p>
  • <p>Map of the Catholic cemetery. From the Auckland Libraries collection. The originals of the maps are located in Sir George Grey Special Collections as part of manuscript NZMS 1363.</p>

Where is the Catholic section?

Grafton Gully Cycleway, Grafton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand