Canberra History Web

St. John's Churchyard, Reid ACT

The Anglican Church of St. John's was consecrated in 1845 on what was then the Limestone Plains. It is Canberra's oldest and most historic church. It's churchyard contains the remains of many of Canberra's pioneers.  Photos of some of the headstones in the churchyard are featured on the PHOTOS webpage.

 Above: St. John's with newly planted trees, May 2011

Below: Part of the churchyard in 1996 (Photos: P Frei) 

Vandals at St John's Church, Reid ACT

At some time on 23 May 2011, vandals entered the historic churchyard of St. John's and thoughtlessly, deliberately and indiscriminately destroyed 14 historic gravestones. This wanton and wilful destruction of not only valuable heritage items, but also the heritage of all Canberrans, is seen as a cowardly and unjustifiable act of malicious damage performed by unsociable selfish persons who obviously have nothing better to do with their lives.

An article on this damage is available on the ABC News page HERE

Example of damage - the prettiest headstone in the churchyard

'Tuppie Murphy' was born on 17 January 1921, the daughter of William Thomas Murphy, a tailor, and his wife, Sarah Elizabeth, residents at RMC Duntroon. She was 4 years old when she died on 3 July 1925. The figurine on her headstone was of marble construction. 

This figurine has been vandalised over the years and examples of what is left of the prettiest headstone in the cemetery are shown below:


Above: Thelma 'Tuppie' Murphy's figurine headstone as seen in 1978. (Photos: P Frei, 1978)

Above: The figurine was vandalised sometime before 1997 when the left arm and right hand were broken off.

(Photo: P Frei, 1997) 

Below: Photo taken on 6 February 2000 - still essentially the same as in 1997 (Photo: P Frei, 2000)

Below: Sometime between 2000 and 2007 unwarranted vandalism occurred and all that is left of the prettiest headstone in the churchyard is as below  (Photo: P. Frei, 13 Oct 2007)




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