Boroondara is an aboriginal word meaning ‘a place of shade’. This aptly describes the beautiful gardens that form part of the cemetery.
The first 50 Years:
|1855||12.5 hectares (31 acres) of land reserved for a cemetery|
|1858||Appointment of first Boroondara Cemetery Trustees|
|1859||Trustees commissioned Frederick Acheson, a civil engineer in the Public Lands Office to draw up plans of grounds, gates and fencing.|
|1859||First burial, that of Ellen Quick (nee Derrick)|
|1860||First building erected, a two-roomed brick cottage designed by Charles Vickers, built by George Saunders.|
|1861||J.J. Higgins laid out grounds|
|1864||Architect and surveyor to the Melbourne General Cemetery, Albert Purchas joined Trust and is credited with much of the botanic ornamentation and landscaping.|
|1876||29 September, gazettal of 12.5 Hectares (31 acres 1 rood 0 perches)|
|1877-8||Shelter erected to design of J. Beauchamp, as a result of a competition, later demolished for the Springthorpe Memorial.|
|1889||Cast iron entrance gates designed by Albert Purchas.|
|1890||Rotunda built by D. Dootson, designed possibly by Albert Purchas (replica of shelter constructed in Melbourne General Cemetery in 1890).|
|1895-6||2.7 metre high ornamental brick fence erected to design by Albert Purchas|
|1866-99||Additions to first building, all designed by Albert Purchas, assisted in 1899 by his son, Claude – office (1866), kitchen (1869), bedroom (1873). wash-house (1875), bedroom (1881), bathroom (1889), additional room (1893), second story, boardroom, clock tower and ministers’ waiting room (1899).|
|1887/1915||Terminus of horse tram located at cemetery gates.|
|1899/1907||Construction of Springthorpe Memorial to design by architect Harold Desbrowe Annear with Dr. Springthorpe, sculpture by Bertram Mackennal, landscape design by W. R. Guilfoyle.|
When the 12.5 hectares of land was originally set aside for a cemetery it was densely covered with large red gums and wattles. At the time it was intended only for the residents of Boroondara (Kew, Hawthorn, Camberwell) however it was not long before burial lots were made available to residents from all over Melbourne.
As time went by, the cemetery became popular with the Chinese community who would come with their festive baskets and place food and coins on the graves of their sacred ancestors. In more recent times, there has been a growing number of Italian and Greek memorials.
A walk through the gardens of the Boroondara General Cemetery is a fascinating journey through Melbourne’s history and as our community becomes more aware of our heritage, we may see more visitors to this ‘Place of Shade’.
Some of the more notable burial sites include the following.
|David Syme (1827-1908)
Joint proprietor of “The Age”. Lived and
died in Kew.
|Annie Springthorpe (1867-1897)
Memorial built by Dr. John Springthorpe to the memory of his beautiful young wife.
|Ellen Quick (?-1859)
First person to be buried at Boroondara Cemetery.
|Albert Purchas (1822-1909)
Architect-surveyor for the village of Hawthorn.
|Henry Colden Antill Harrison (1929)
‘Father’ of Australian Rules Football.
|Ernest Ingle (1843-1875)
Established a private boy’s school named “Kew High School”
Note: dates, etc. are taken from O’Neill. F. The Historical Significance of the Boroondara General Cemetery and the National Trust book. (Cemeteries Our Heritage.)
The image above shows the original Boroondara Cemetery entrance with plantings from a series of postcards of Melbourne Cemeteries.