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Sydney's Past Rises from the Grave

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.-Central Railway Station's 'deathly' past will resurface as part of a photographic exhibition, Devonshire Street Cemetery, and a free talk presented by the City of Sydney during History Week 2005. The exhibition at Surry Hills Library from September 12 to October 14 will reveal the history of the former cemetery, which was the main burial ground for Sydneysiders from 1820 to 1866.

Dr Lisa Murray, the City's Research Historian, will present an illustrated talk at Customs House on Saturday, September 17 delving into the issues that followed the closure of the cemetery and the building of what is now Central Railway Station.

"The unruly manner in which burials were conducted in these cemeteries became all too apparent when Devonshire Street Cemetery was cleared," said Dr Murray.

"It was reported that at least 5,000 bodies couldn't be located in the cemetery. Bodies were discovered buried beneath paths and in spare ground, with many remains found just below the surface."

At the time, the Devonshire St Cemetery was praised for its commanding views of the harbour and it was said to be at the forefront of cemetery design. The burial grounds were closed in 1867 due to overcrowding and were left to moulder until the Government resumed the land in 1901 for the construction of the train station.

The exhibition features photographs, maps and old documents that unearth this hidden story, giving Sydneysiders a rare glimpse into this dramatic change to Sydney's landscape.

Many other exciting and free events are taking place across Sydney as part of History Week. For a full listing of the events, visit the What's On Website or call 1300 651 301. History Week is proudly supported by the City of Sydney and is an initiative of the History Council of NSW. A full program of History Week events state-wide is available from the History Council's Website,

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