The WN Bull Funerals Archives: Preservation and Perpetuation


WN Bull Funerals was founded long before computers, typewriters and even ball-point pens came into existence. Leather-bound ledgers and books of accounts, preserved from the business’ earliest days, show neat columns laboriously inscribed with ink-filled fountain pens.

No documents were deemed too insignificant for preservation; WN Bull’s extensive collection of papers includes tickets to events they sponsored, obituaries, newspaper articles and advertisements, thank-you letters from families, historical photographs as well as the aforementioned ledgers detailing the arrangements for the tens of thousands of funerals they’ve conducted over the years.

WN Bull Funerals have kept meticulous records“There’s an amazing wealth of information contained within these archives. I’ve been passionately protective of them for many years,” said Patsy Healy, WN Bull’s General Manager.

A few of the journals in WN Bull Funerals' archive

“They need to be properly preserved, but for a long time I wasn’t sure whom to speak with about undertaking this kind of task. Then one day it was as though a switch flicked in my head, and I approached Monsignor John Usher who has arranged for WN Bull’s records to become part of the Sydney Archdiocesan Archives.”

The Sydney Archdiocesan Archives, which are located at St Mary’s Cathedral House, consist of approximately 3000 archival boxes predominantly containing church administration records and the business records of the Chancery of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

“The Catholic Church has a long association with WN Bull and they have conducted numerous funerals for Catholic priests and religious. In the conversation between Monsignor Usher and Patsy, it was determined that we could help preserve those records,” said Jo Robertson, Office and Services Manager, Sydney Archdiocesan Archives.

“I went out to Newtown and met Patsy and I was blown away by how fantastic those records are.”

Within the archives, records are stored in document wallets, which are then placed into archival boxes and stowed in metal cupboards.

“There are so many elements we have to protect against – dust, dirt, light, temperature changes. We keep them in metal cupboards so there’s no wood to degrade or let off fumes, and vermin can’t eat through them,” said Jo Robertson.

When WN Bull’s records are relocated to the Sydney Archdiocesan Archives later in the year, not only will they be preserved and stored, but they will also be available for relevant research purposes.

“Members of the public can access the archives on application to myself or the Chancellor of the Archdiocese. We have a varied range of clientele who visit the Archives – university students, people writing church or parish histories or undertaking research into the history of the Catholic church, authors, overseas researchers and historians,” said Jo Robertson.

“WN Bull is very grateful to Monsignor Usher and the Sydney Archdiocesan Archives for accepting WN Bull’s historical records, and we’re delighted to know that the wealth of information they contain will be safely preserved and available for future generations,” said Patsy Healy.