July 3, 1859
On July 3, 1859 Bishop John Thomas Mullock, the Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland consecrated Mount Carmel Cemetery, located near Quidi Vidi Lake. Bishop Mullock wrote in his diary on this day:
“ Today I consecrated the cemetery at Quidi Vidi. Thousands were present. The weather awfully hot. Temperature 84 degrees in the shade.”
All churches at the time had their eye on land “on the outskirts of the town” that could be developed into cemeteries.
In July 1849 Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming purchased ten acres of land adjoining John Dowsley’s property on the road to Bally Haly Farm, at the top of Kennas Hill, for the purpose of a cemetery. He joined the two lots and made one large burial ground known as Mount Carmel Cemetery.
Tradition has it that Mount Carmel was “the fishermen’s cemetery” as opposed to Belvedere Cemetery (on Bonaventure Ave. and Newtown Road). Belvedere was traditionally seen as the cemetery for the more well to do citizens and only “available to those that purchased sites.”
Up to the year 1849 all burials for all denominations were made in the town’s cemeteries. The Roman Catholic’s buried their dead in the Long’s Hill Cemetery located on what is now the site near the parking lot of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (The Kirk), on Long’s Hill, St. John’s.
Unfortunately the internments records for the Long’s Hill Cemetery were lost in the Great Fire 1846.
The Church of England Cemetery was in the church yard of the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist which borders on Duckworth Street, Church Hill, Cathedral Street and Gower Street. It is estimated that there are about 6000 people buried there.
The Wesleyan Cemetery was on the corner of Gower and Queen’s Road.
Many of the internment records for Mount Carmel cemetery – ‘the fishermen’s cemetery’ have survived – some were lost or damaged but in the 1980’s the cemetery was reconstructed using information recorded on the headstones that were erected by individual families.
Today Mount Carmel cemetery is closed to internments, with some exceptions being made for families with existing plots.
Recommended Archival Collection: All of the churches have established archives that hold detailed records that will help you locate the grave site of a loved one buried in the cemeteries in this province.