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., with all of the gates open on Christmas Day. 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. Edward Cole: 16 December 2018 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Edward Cole (1832 - 1918), a migrant from Kent, in England, who arrived in Melbourne in 1852 at the age of 20. He became famous as the founder of Cole's Book Arcade, which stretched between Bourke Street and Collins Street in the city of Melbourne. Cole advertised it as "the prettiest sight in Melbourne".
In 1861, the adventurous Cole rowed 1500 miles down the Murray River from Echuca with a photographer called Burnett, collecting seeds which he later sold to Ferdinand Mueller for the Melbourne botanic gardens.
In 1879, Cole released his Cole's Funny Picture Book, marketed as the "Cheapest Child's Picture Book ever published", and filled with puzzles and pictures. By the time of his death, half a million copies had been sold. Copies were still being sold in the 1970s, almost 100 years later. Even now, it can be obtained in a less attractive "print on demand" format. His arcade and the book both featured rainbows. These had special significance for Cole. He believed that the rainbow, featuring as it does every colour, would one day be taken as the symbol of a federated world with universal peace.
In 1980, Cole was made the subject of a one man play called "Coles Funny Picture Man" and performed at Melbourne University. It was written by Steve Vizard and performed by the much loved Melbourne actor and musician Norman Kaye.
Cole left five children, his wife having pre-deceased him. The Friends of Boroondara (Kew) Cemetery Trust’s 2006 book “Leaving their Mark” (available for purchase at the cemetery office) contains more information about Edward Cole and his life.
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 19 December, 2018 and Saturday 5 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.