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.
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.