The Tomb of Elias Bent Garden Island c1860

Henry Ambrose Scrivener

The Tomb of Elias Bent Garden Island


22.7 cm x 28.5 cm

Pencil and watercolour on blue tinted paper

A drawing of Sydney Harbour from Garden Island, presumably drawn when the artist was travelling to New Zealand on HMS Harrier c 1860/1.

In the foreground is the tomb of Judge Elias Bent and Major Ovens. The stone pyramid that was once positioned on top of the grave has been pushed off  and is lying on the ground. Earlier depictions of the Tomb by John Skinner Prout show the tomb in better days. It is a curious mystery as to why the two men were buried together. They may have been lovers……

Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 5th December 1925 page 11 (Garden Island)

“Incidentally, it is not generally known that Garden Island once constituted a burial ground, two of our most illustrious early colonists having been interred there-Judge Advocate Elias Bent, who summed-up in Governor Macquarie’s time, and Major Ovens, private secretary to Sir Thomas Brisbane.
When on his death-bed the latter expressed a desire to be interred in the tomb of his early friend, the Judge. This last request was duly carried out, and on the top of Bent’s grave was erected a stone pyramid bearing an inscription commemorative of the memory of Major Ovens, who died in 1825. On the occupation of the island by the Imperial Government the tomb, together with the underlying remains, were removed to St. Thomas’ Church of England, North Sydney”.

Tomb of Judge Ellis Bent | Day Gallery

Above: The Tomb in its current location at St Thomas.

Below: An earlier depiction of the Tomb in better condition by John Skinner Prout c1840

Ovens Tomb | Day gallery