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Monumental masons' ledgers

The origins of the monumental masonry firms of T. J. Andrews and H. J Larcombe date back to the first arrival of their ancestors in Australia. The story of the Andrews family in Australia began with arrival of John Roote Andrews with his wife Sarah (Dawson) on the Thomas Arbuthnot, in 1849. John Roote Andrews set up a monumental mason business in Newtown, Sydney, near the newly established Camperdown Cemetery. He was eventually responsible for many of the gravestones there, including his own family grave, and the mass grave for the victims of the 1857 Dunbar and Catherine Adams shipwrecks.

Robert Larcombe was an apprentice stonemason when he was transported to Australia in 1839 as a convict. After gaining his Ticket of Leave in 1843, he worked as a stonemason in the Goulburn area. W Larcombe & Son began producing monuments in Dubbo in 1893. It became, and continues to be, one of the largest and most respected firms in regional New South Wales.

If you find a name that you are researching in these ledgers, the alphabetical list of names at the front of the ledger will take you to the entry page. Here you will find the grave number and section of the cemetery in which it is located, the date, and the name and address of the person who commissioned the work on the grave. If you are fortunate enough to find that a photograph of a grave exists in the photograph collection, then it might provide more legible details than the existing grave today. There are over 300 photographs in the Larcombe collection, and 54 photographs in the T J Andrews album, most dating from the 1930s. The ledgers cover graves in Sydney cemeteries between 1930 and 1969. The invoice/receipt book of H J Larcombe is indexed by name and covers 1968-1969. It may provide a first name for the person commissioning the work.

Images: Top and bottom right - Ledger of Andrews Monumental Co. Lidcombe NSW, SAG Manuscript and Image Collection, Item 2/112; Bottom left - Grave of Brian Dick from photograph album of T J Andrews (Undertaker), SAG Manuscript and Image Collection, Item 6/1019

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