Welcome to the Boroondara General Cemetery, commonly known as the Kew Cemetery. Only 8 kilometres east of Melbourne's CBD, Kew Cemetery was designed in the tradition of the Victorian garden cemetery. It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Victoria, with more than 80,000 burials to date.
Currently, garden crypts are available for burial, and niches for the interment of cremated remains. These are held in perpetuity. More information about memorialisation can be found by clicking here.
Christmas and New Year opening hours: The cemetery will be open every day over the Christmas and New Year period between 8a.m. and 5p.m. As usual, the office will be closed on public holidays and weekends.Hot weather closures: In the interests of public safety, on extreme weather days or in the event of high fire danger the cemetery may be closed. Please contact the cemetery office on (03) 9853 7025 if you have any concerns or queries. There will be a recorded message if a change to opening hours or public access has occurred. John Halfey: 4 January 2019 marks the one hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the death of John Halfey (1825 - 1889), a migrant from Lancashire, in England, who arrived in Melbourne in the 1850s. Married at Gretna Green in his twenties, Halfey left his wife and daughter behind in England and migrated to Australia, never to return. After his first wife obtained a divorce, he married Annie Lane, with whom he had a family. In the 1860s he built an Italianate mansion called Ordsall (later called Southesk) on the corner of Cotham Road and Charles Street in Kew. The frescoes commissioned for the ceilings of the drawingroom and ballroom in the 1880s were thought to be among the finest in Melbourne. The house was purchased by the City of Kew in 1947 and demolished in 1970. The Kew library now stands on that site.
Halfey became the second mayor of Kew in 1862/63 and later became the MLA for Sandhurst (Bendigo). In Parliament, he was outspoken in promoting protectionism, and the building of factories beside the Yarra River, which he thought could not be more polluted. At one point he became official assignee of insolvent estates, official liquidator, and commissioner of the Supreme Court.
After Halfey's death, his wife went to England, where she died in 1909. Family life was marked by tragedy. A daughter Violet died aged only 8 months. A son, Frank, died aged only 10 while swimming in the Yarra with friends, and another son Percy, who inherited a substantial portion of Halfey's estate, was said to have squandered his share and died insolvent aged only 34.
The Halfey memorial (at left), where all of these family members are buried, is the tallest in the cemetery.
Working bees: The Friends of Boroondara Kew Cemetery arrange regular working bees at the cemetery. These are held on the 1st Saturday of each month and the third Wednesday of each month. The next working bees will be on Saturday 5 January, 2019 and Wednesday 16 January, 2019 from 10:00 am until around 3:00 pm if the weather is favourable. We invite anyone who is interested to join an enthusiastic team. Volunteers are welcome to join for as little or long as they please.
The location of the working bee within the 12 hectares of the cemetery will be marked with pink flags. You will find the working group if you follow the pink flags. All you need to bring is yourself, some gloves, a pair of secateurs and to wear sensible shoes. No special skills are required. If you are planning to stay you should bring your own lunch. The main gate will be open for vehicle access.
Springthorpe memorial: For a public notice about recent damage sustained to the Springthorpe memorial, click here.