Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be extremely difficult to accept. Someone who has meant so much to you is no longer there to confide in or to spent time with. Their sudden disappearance leaves a gaping hole which cannot be filled . No advice can be given on how to deal with such a personal experience. Grief affects us all differently and can be carried with us for many years.

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An individual’s life has been celebrated since the dawn of time. Ceremonies have been performed by all the world’s cultures as a act of passage from one life to the next. Burial sites from the earliest times have been special places of respect and devotion. They are places to be visited to maintain a connection with the deceased, to keep the loved one close, respected and remembered.

Today, a wide range of funeral options are available. There are many funeral service providers who will help family members to create an individualised and personal ceremony for their loved one. A unique and highly personal memorial can be designed as a permanent marker of the burial site, providing a lasting tribute to the loved one.

The design of the memorial is of great importance as it is to last for many years. There are many different styles of grave design, the most traditional being an upright headstone. Flat headstones are either set flush to the ground or they can be a raised slightly above it. Another type is the kerbed headstone which is recommended to someone who is looking for a less traditional memorial. Kerbed headstones are also longer and bigger that previous ones, so there is more space for personal expression making them more suitable for individual design. Cremation memorials are quite similar to upright headstones, but they have containers designated for the ashes of deceased.

The majority of headstones are made from granite or marble but today a wider range of materials can to combined to create a truly unique memorial. These include glass, bronze, ceramics, stainless steel and vitreous enamel. Granite has been a traditional choice due to its strength, colour options and longevity. It is worth noting that a few cemeteries may only permit granite headstones. Another tradition material is marble which is formed through the recrystallization of limestone. However, marble is less resistant to weather erosion and the text becomes less visible over time. Some cemeteries do not permit white marble. Bronze is a very resilient material but it is more expensive than granite.

Headstones can be enhanced through the choice of finishes and colours. Headstones can have engraved inscriptions and images. Others have inlaid images. A walk through a cemetery will show a variety and wealth of memorial designs.

  1. Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park
    This is a cemetery and crematory located at Matraville. The Memorial Park has about 65,000 decedents. It incorporates Botany Cemetery and Pioneer Memorial Park and is therefore full of green lawns and beautiful gardens. In Pioneer Memorial Park there are commemorative plaques of outstanding citizens of New South Wales.
  2. Macquarie Park and Crematory
    In this cemetery graves are surrounded by breathtaking floral gardens. It is considered one of the most beautiful memorial sites New South Wales. The first person was buried there in 1922. Macquarie Park is known for its impressive reflection of Australia’s multicultural society.
  3. Rookwood Cemetery (officially named Rookwood Necropolis)
    Rookwood is the largest Victorian cemetery in the World, covering 190 hectares. It was established in 1867. Rookwood Cemetery is the resting place of representatives of more than 90 different religious groups. The cemetery is administrated by Rookwood General Cemetery Reserve Trust, the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, Rookwood Memorial Gardens and Crematorium. Amongst those buried there are Joseph Cahill (1891–1959), former Premier of New South Wales, David Jones (1793–1873), founder of David Jones stores, and Lilian Fowler (1886–1954), Australia’s first female mayor. One part of Rookwood Necropolis is occupied by Rookwood Jewish Cemetery designated for Jewish society members. Rookwood is also home to The Australian War Graves section, featuring more than 15 000 rose bushes.
  4. The Waverley Cemetery
    It is known to be one of the oldest cemeteries in Sydney. It is located on the top of cliffs in the suburbs of Sydney. It is an absolutely unique place. The Waverley Cemetery has been self-funded since it was opened in 1877. Up to now, there have been over 86,000 interments which are the only source of cemetery income. The cemetery is the final resting of such Australian icons as the poets Henry Lawson and Henry Kendall, Olympic swimmer Fanny Durack and New South Wales Premier Sir James Martin. Scenic views and outstanding architecture from 19 century have become an inspiration for many artists, poets and film directors, such as, Michael Pate who chose the cemetery to film scenes of the movie “Tim”.
  5. South Head Cemetery
    This is a companion cemetery to Waverley Cemetery. The first interment was made there in 1869. Originally it was managed by a private trust, but since 1941 the cemetery has been run by Waverley Council. In South Head Cemetery is the final resting place of Australia’s first Prime Minister Edmund Barton and the 22 victims of the 1927 Greycliffe ferry disaster. There are also 18 graves of Commonwealth Australian service personnel – five from World War I and 13 from World War II.

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Sydney is also home to the following cemetries:

  1. Sydney Catholic Garden Cemetry, Kemps Creek
  2. Macquarie Park Cemetry and Crematorium, Macquarie Park
  3. Manly Cemetry, Manly
  4. Worona General Cemetry and Crematorium, Sutherland
  5. Gore Hill Memorial Cemetry, St. Leonards
  6. Waverley Cemetry, Bronte
  7. Mona Vale General Cemetry, Mona Vale
  8. Frenchs Forest Bushland Cemetry, Davidson
  9. Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, North Ryde
  10. North Rocks Cemetry, North Rocks
  11. Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Leppington
  12. Pinegrove Memorial Park, Minchinbury
  13. Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, Matraville
  14. Liverpool Presbyterian Cemetry Trust, Liverpool

Headstones can be enhanced through the choice of finishes and colours. Headstones can have engraved inscriptions and images. Others have inlaid images. A walk through a cemetery will show a variety and wealth of memorial designs.

Each culture and religious group has their own history and traditions which are observed at the time of death. This extends to the funeral and memorialisation. The cultural traditions and affect the choice of materials and the design of a headstone.

Sydney, being a large, multicultural city, is home to many cemeteries. Here is a brief description of some of Sydney’s main cemeteries.

Dating back to the 1790s, the Old Sydney Burial Ground, Sydney’s earliest official burial site, is now the site of the Sydney Town Hall. The site fell into disrepair and by 1867 a new cemetry was established at Rookwood Necropolis. The site was divided into denominational sections according to the numbers represented in the 1861 census.

Today Rookwood Cemetry is the largest, most historic cemetry still operating in Australia. It covers 314 hectares and provides burial and commemoration services to over 90 of Sydney’s culturally diverse communities. Anglican, General, Independent, Jewish and Muslim Trusts are unitied by Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust. Rookwood Cemetry is also the site of numerous shrines and memorials, for example to Holocaust victims, merchant marines and it is the site of The Sydney War Cemetry.

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