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Historic Cemetery

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John Tollard & the Chapel

In 1865, the land set aside for the Chapel was legally transferred to a group of trustees, comprised of two men living outside the district and four local farmers.  Of the six original trustees, it was only the family of John Tollard who continued to be associated with the Chapel.  There was both a father and son of this name, but it was John Tollard senior who was a trustee of the Congregational Chapel at Sandford, and it is likely that he was an original trustee at Rokeby too.

John Tollard senior arrived in Van Diemen's Land as a convict.  He was transported in 1831 for his part in the ‘Swing Riots’ when he was charged with ‘riotously assembling at St Mary’s Bourne’ and demanding half a sovereign with threats from the clergyman’s wife.  By the time John was granted his ticket of leave in 1835, the first allotments had been sold in the village of Rokeby and all the remaining Crown land in the surrounding area was earmarked for sale.  No more grants would be given away for free.  So John farmed rented properties in Sandford and Clarence Plains until his death in 1876, ten years after the Congregational Chapel was opened.

Many of his descendants remained in the district, including John Tollard junior.  These descendants often managed local farms, and some of them acquired the property ‘Seaside’ near the mouth of the Clarence Plains Rivulet.  The last known burial at the Chapel is that of Alfred Tollard in 1951.  Long after the chapel was burnt down, Athol Tollard was able to identify an unmarked grave. He remembered how, as a teenager, he helped his father construct the concrete surround.

Directions to next sign

Proceed along South parade to the intersection with King Street and the Rokeby Aflame sign will be on your right.

John Tollard

Photograph taken by HH Bailey; courtesy of Steve Pearsall

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