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. Kew Cemetery is celebrating its 160th anniversary in 2019. 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.
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.
Horace Washington Harrison: 150 years ago on 12 February 1869, 20 year old Horace Washington Harrison was buried at Kew Cemetery. Born in 1848, Horace grew up in an energetic and politically active family. His father Captain John Harrison, formerly of the British navy, had fitted out a small vessel and travelled to Sydney in about 1824. He married his wife Jane Howe in Sydney and then moved to Victoria (then called Port Phillip) in about 1830, making Horace's parents amongst the first settlers in Victoria.
Horace was probably born when his family was living at Swan Water Station in the Wimmera north-west of St Arnaud. At that time, his father was actively involved in agitating for separation of Victoria from New South Wales, and was later involved in the Eureka Stockade. The family moved to Williamstown in 1859, when Horace was about 11.
Horace showed great promise academically. He was one of only 19 men accepted into the University of Melbourne in 1867, and on his entry into the University was awarded exhibitions in History, Geography, English and French.
Horace tragically lost his life in a drowning accident near Ballarat in February 1869. This was a terrible blow to his family, and his father followed him to the grave after a bout of bronchitis only a few months later. Horace's mother had hoped that Horace would become a minister of religion. His grave inscription reflects his mother's hopes:
"Horace Washington Harrison who was drowned at Carngham 9 February 1869 in his 21st year. A student of bright promise for the Gospel ministry."
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 Wednesday 20 February, 2019 and Saturday 2 March, 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.