Heritage

Rookwood Cemetery and Necropolis

Item details

Name of item: Rookwood Cemetery and Necropolis
Other name/s: Rookwood Necropolis, Haslem's Creek Necropolis, No. 1 Section buildings, relics and place
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Cemeteries and Burial Sites
Category: Cemetery/Graveyard/Burial Ground
Location: Lat: -33.8698841402 Long: 151.0513102510
Primary address: East Street, Lidcombe, NSW 2141
Parish: Liberty Plains
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Auburn
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
CROWN LAND    
LOT7 DP46563
LOT490 DP48319
LOT492 DP48441
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
East StreetLidcombeAuburnLiberty PlainsCumberlandPrimary Address
Weeroona RoadLidcombeAuburnLiberty PlainsCumberlandAlternate Address
Railway StreetLidcombeAuburnLiberty PlainsCumberlandAlternate Address
Arthur StreetLidcombeAuburnLiberty PlainsCumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Department of Planning and InfrastructureState Government07 Apr 99

Statement of significance:

Summary Statement of Significance*:
The points are ranked in order of priority:
a) Rookwood Necropolis is one of the largest burial grounds in the world and contains the largest 19th century cemetery in Australia;
b) the scale of design, design features, use of plants, gardenesque layout, high quality and diversity of structures, monuments and details of Rookwood Necropolis represent a rare surviving example of mid-late 19th century ideals for a major public cemetery. The choices of plants in these sections also demonstrate 19th century funerary etiquette and fashion by way of plant symbolism;
c) the views and expertise of a number of prominent individuals are manifest in the historic fabric and design of Rookwood Necropolis;
d) the Necropolis memorials form a set of monumental masonry without parallel in Australia. They include examples that are unique in themselves or display a high degree of technical accomplishment, and others which represent changes in social burial customs since 1867;
e) as a social document and genealogical resource, Rookwood Necropolis is unique in its scale and comprehensiveness. The Necropolis is the burial place of a large number of noteworthy individuals;
f) Rookwood Necropolis is of significance in providing habitats for two rare and endangered plant species: downy wattle (Acacia pubscens)(Status: vulnerable) and the small leaved Dillwynia (D.parvifolia)(Status: vulnerable and uncommon). It also contains an unusual ecotone where a pocket of Sydney sandstone associated vegetation occurs in the midst of predominantly Wianamatta shale associated vegetation. (NSW DPWS, 1988), with additions on plant conservation statii from Fairley, 2004)
* a more detailed statement of significance is contained within section 4.4.2 of the Plan of Management, NSW DPWS, 1988).

Rookwood Necropolis is of heritage significance because:
- it is one of the largest burial grounds in the world and contains the largest 19th century cemetery in Australia;
- of its scale of design, curvilinear gardenesque layout which is unusual in Australia;
- it provides an important haven for birdlife and native fauna;
- it contains significant mature plantings of plant species, both native and introduced which are rare and unusual;
- of the high quality and diversity of structures, monumental masonry, other works and details of its oldest sections;
- of its rarity as a well preserved 19th century major public cemetery;
- it represents a surviving example of mid to late 19th century ideals for a major public cemetery;
- it is unique as a large, comprehensive and tangible manifestation of the social history of Sydney, documenting the cultural and religious diversity of the Australian community since 1867;
- of its research value through its social, genealogical and historical associations with prominent individuals and families (such as architects, Directors of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney and other individuals) recorded in memorials containing significant biographical information;
- of the monumental masonry and other types of craftsmanship, including cast and wrought ironwork which are fine examples of craft processes and reflect social attitudes to death and fashions in funerary ornamentation since 1867;
- it demonstrates a wide diversity in burial practices and religious beliefs.
(National Trust, 1988; Schwager Brooks et al, 1996; as adapted by S. Read, 7/2006).

The 280 hectare site is the largest cemetery in Australia and one of the largest in the world. It houses 1,000,000 epitaphs recorded on 600,000 graves and 200,000 crematoria niches. Rookwood Necropolis documents the cultural and religious diversity of the Australian community in the late 19th Century and society's attitudes towards death (Press Release, 5/2006).

Rookwood Necropolis is an outstanding item of environmental heritage, as:
- it is the largest 19th century cemetery in the world and Australia's largest designed landscape;
- it has one of the largest collections of funerary monuments predating World War 1, anywhere in the world;
- it demonstrates an extensive range of monumental craftsmanship;
- its curvilinear layout and large scale gardenesque design are unusual in the Australian context;
- it contains a number of mausolea, chapels and other buildings of architectural and/or symbolic importance;
- it is the largest public open space and major landscape element within urban Sydney;
- it provides an important haven for birdlife and native fauna;
- it contains plant species, both native and introduced which are rare and unusual;
- both old and new cemeteries within Rookwood provide an important source for genealogical and social history research;
- it is so large that vistas can be found within it that are completely contained within the cemetery landscape, providing an aesthetic retreat for the senses of the viewer.
(National Trust of Australia (NSW), 1988)
Date significance updated: 13 Jul 06
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Branch intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Charles Moore and Simeon Pearce
Construction years: 1862-
Physical description: Rookwood Necropolis is the largest cemetery in Australia and one of the largest in the world, having an area of 280 hectares and approximately 1,000,000 epitaphs recorded on 600,000 graves and 200,000 crematoria niches. It is a multi-denominational cemetery dating from 1867 onwards, with landscaped layout with a focus of a circular hub or roadway.

Early Design:
The original 200 acre layout is located in the north-western corner of the site. The road pattern radiates from a central hub and two different approaches to design are exemplified. The Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Independent, General and Catholic Cemeteries uses a curvilinear layout whereas the Anglican Cemetery uses a grid layout. The original designers followed a garden design, which was continued in the layout of individual sections.

Located in the Church of England No.1 Cemetery is an extensive system of serpentine drains and ponds The open drain is brick-lined and approximately 1800mm deep. Extensive shelters, urns, bridges, fountains, and gardens ornament the serpentine drains. The paths, gardens and carriageways throughout the older sections are formed between finely detailed brick gutters which remain largely intact.

The Crematorium:
The grounds are dominated by the Spanish Mission style building which is laid out in cruciform pattern to accommodate three separate chapels. The earlier parts of the garden are enclosed by a rendered brick wall with tiles capping that gives it an attractive unified appearance as viewed from the rest of the cemetery. Within the wall, formal gardens are laid out in an axial pattern using brick and stone to negotiate changes of levels. Ponds mark the intersection of the main pathways. The major axes terminate in wrought iron gates which afford attractive views over the rest of the cemetery.

Plants and Design:
What remains on the site is an accretion of introduced and remnant native plants. Some of the introduced planting dates from the original layout of the cemetery. These include Araucaria pines (A.cunninghamii - hoop pine; A.bidwillii - Bunya pine; A.columnaris - Cook's pine; A.heterophylla - Norfolk Island pine), Magnolia grandiflora - evergreen magnolia / bull bay and Pinus spp. trees and Phoenix (P.canariensis - Canary Island date palms); P.dactylifera - date palm); P.senegalensis - clumping date) palms and Washingtonia robusta (Californian desert fan) palms. These have been planted in an ordered goemetric grid which is transected by gardenesque curvilinear roads in turn bordered by avenue planting. Within this layout are pavilions, fountains and shelters that are important elements in the landscape.

The more recent cemetery areas in the south and eastern portions of the site revert to informal arrangements of native trees and shrubs. The cemetery provides a habitat for two rare and endangered plant (shrub) species, Acacia pubescens and Dillwynia parvifolia. It also contains an unusual ecotone where a pocket of Sydney sandstone asssociated vegetation occurs in the midst of predominantly Wianamatta shale associated vegetation. It also supports populations of 19 species of frogs and reptiles and a large number of bird species. (CALM) (National Trust 1988)

Archaeological potential:
The main features of archaeological significance include:
- monumental masonry;
- former railway siding and site of Mortuary Station, sites of 3 other Stations;
- cast iron section markers on Necropolis Circuit;
- drainage channels, roads, bridges, paths;
- other buildings, works and sites. (Schwager Brooks et al, 1996).

Rookwood Necropolis
(1)Anglican Section - update to Plan of Management Survey of vegetation
Plant list provided by Stuart Read, 2/2012

NB: no prefix below denotes species listed in Plan of Management vegetation survey
^ prefix denotes incorrectly named plant from Plan of Management survey, renamed
* prefix denotes 'new' species not listed in Plan of Management Survey
~ prefix denotes confirmed plants from PoM survey still present in 2/2012

Acacia decurrens, silver wattle
* A.elata,cedar wattle
A.binervia (syn.A.glaucescens), coastal myall/wattle
* Acacia iteaphylla, wattle
^Afrocarpus falcatus, Outeniqua/yellow wood (was Podocarpus falcatus)
*Agapanthus orientalis, African / Nile lily
~Agathis robusta, Qld. kauri
*Agave americana, century plant
*A.americana 'Aureo-Variegata', golden variegated " "
*A.angustifolia, narrow-leaved agave
*Aloe arborescens, aloe
*A.?barbadensis, spotted leaved aloe
Angophora floribunda, rough barked apple oak
~Araucaria bidwillii, Bunya Bunya pine
^A.columnaris, Cook's pine (not A,columellaris as POM said)
~A.cunninghamii, hoop pine'
~A.heterophylla, Norfolk Island pine
~Arbutus unedo, Irish/Mediterranean strawberry tree
*Arundinaria sp., bamboo
*Atriplex holocarpa, salt bush
^~Bauhinia x variegata, orchid tree (not B.purpurea as POM said)
~Brachychiton acerifolius, Illawarra flame tree
~B.rupestris, Qld. bottle tree, two specimens
*Buddleja davidii (cream/apricot cv.), butterfly bush cultivar (could be a weed/seedling)
*Campsis grandiflora, trumpet creeper
~Celtis australis, southern nettle tree/hackberry
* C.sinensis, Chinese nettle tree/hackberry
*Centaurium minus, centaury (weed)
*Cestrum parquii, green queen-of-the-night (weed)
*Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
~Cinnamommum camphora, camphor laurel
*Clerodendron ugandense, butterfly bush (could be a weed/seedling)
*Coreopsis tinctoria, tick seed (weed)
^~Corymbia citriodora, lemon-scented gum (was Eucalyptus citriodora)
*Cotoneaster sp. (large leaved: C.lacteus?), cotoneaster (likely a weed / seedling)
* C. sp. (small leaved: C.franchettii?), cotoneaster (likely a weed/ seedling)
^Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans', Japanese cedar cultivar (POM omitted specie)
*Cupressus sempervirens, Mediterranean cypress / pencil pine
*Cuscuta sp., dodder (saprophytic vine - native)
Dracaena draco, Dragon('s blood) tree
*Eleagnus pungens, silver berry
Eucalyptus botryioides, bangalay
Eucalyptus cladocalyx, sugar gum
E.fibrosa, broad-leaved red ironbark
E.globulus, Victorian/Tasmanian blue gum
E.microcorys, tallowwood
*Eupatorium sp., Crofton weed (weed)
*Euryops pectinatus, Paris daisy
~Ficus macrophylla, Moreton Bay fig
* F.rubiginosa, Port Jackson/rusty fig - seedlings
*Fucraea selloa, Mauritius hemp
*Gmelina leichhardtii, grey ash
~Grevillea robusta, silky oak
*Hardenbergia violacea, native sasparilla
*Ilex cornuta, horned holly
*Indigofera australis, native pea / wisteria
~Jacaranda mimosifolia, jacaranda
*Jasminium mesnyi, Himalayan yellow jasmine
~Jubaea chilensis, Chilean wine palm
~Juniperus virginiana, eastern red cedar - 8m x 4m, prickly tips, soft needlesweeping branchlets
*Kennedya rubicunda, dusky coral pea
*Kentranthus ruber, kiss-me-quick / valerian
~Lagerstroemia indica cv., crepe myrtle
^Lagunaria patersonia, Norfolk Island hibiscus/white oak/cow itch tree (not -ii)a
*Lantana camara, lantana (weed)
*L.montevidensis, creeping lantana (NB: sterile - not a weed)
*Laurus nobilis, sweet bay/bay laurel
*Lonicera fragrantissima, winter honeysuckle
*L.japonica, Japanese honeysuckle (weed)
~Lophostemon confertus, brush box
~Magnolia grandiflora, Southern /evergreen magnolia/bull bay
*Nephrolepsis cordifolia, ladder fern
*Olea europaea var.cuspidata, African olive (weed)
*Pennisetum sp., Abyssinian grass (weed)
~ Phoenix canariensis, Canary Island date palm
P.rupicola, cliff date palm
~Pinus radiata, Monterey pine
*Pittosporum revolutum, yellow pittosporum
*P.undulatum, sweet pittosporum
^~ Platycladus orientalis, Chinese arbor vitae/thuja (was Thuja orientalis)
Podocarpus elatus, Illawarra/brown /plum pine
*Polyscias sambucifolia, celery wood/elderberry panax
*Pyracantha sp. (P.angustifolia?), firethorn (weed)
Quercus robur, English oak
Q.palustris, pin oak
*Raphiolepis delacouri, Indian hawthorn
Robinia pseudoacacia, false acacia/black locust
Schefflera actinophylla, umbrella tree
*Sesbania sp., senna
*Spiraea cantonensis, may bush
~Stenocarpus sinuatus, fire wheel tree
*Strelitzia aphylla, leafless bird-of-paradise flower
*S.reginae, bird-of-paradise flower
*S.spathulifolia, spoon-leaved bird-of-paradise flower
*Swainsona galegifolia, pea bush
^Syzygium australe, brush cherry (not Syzigium as POM said)
~Taxodium distichum, swamp cypress (2)
*Themeda australis, kangaroo grass
* Themeda triandra, wallaby grass
~Trachycarpus fortunei, Chinese/Chusan/windmill palm
Tsuga sp.hemlock (not seen: I doubt this specoe survives in Sydney - the climate is too hot and dry)
~Ulmus parvifolia, Chinese elm
*Verbena rigida, vervain'
*Viburnum odoratissimum, viburnum
~V.tinus, laurustinus
*Wahlenbergia sp., native bluebell
~Washingtonia robusta, Californian desert fan palm
~Waterhousea floribunda, weeping lily pilly
*Yucca ?filamentosa, Spanish bayonet/Adam's needle


(2) Wesleyan Section - update to Plan of Management Survey of vegetation
Additional plant list provided by Stuart Read, 2/2012 **

Cupressus microcarpa 'Aurea', golden Monterey cypress
Grevillea robusta, silky oak
Hardenbergia comptoniana, native sasparilla
H.violacea, native sasparilla
Hypoestes sp., (purple flowered, sage-like plant)
Lagerstroemia indica cv., crepe myrtle
Mazus reptans, creeping musk (white flowered)
Pinus canariensis, Canary Island pine
P.palustris, maritime pine
P.radiata, Monterey pine
Stenocarpus sinuatus, fire wheel tree
Wahlenbergia sp., native bluebell


(3) Old Wesleyan Section - update to Plan of Management Survey of vegetation
Additional plant list provided by Stuart Read, 2/2012 **

Acacia sp. (?A.mearnsii), black wattle
Agave americana 'Aureo-Variegata', variegated century plant
Asparagus falcatus, asparagus fern (weed)
Chaenomeles japonica cv., Japanese/flowering quince/japonica apple
Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
Coreopsis tinctoria, tick seed (weed)
Eucalyptus microcorys, tallow wood
Hardenbergia violacea, native sasparilla
Heliotropum sp., heliotrope (ground cover, weed)
Lagerstroemia indica cv., crepe myrtle
Lonicera japonica, Japanese honeysuckle (weed)
Pinus pinaster, maritime pine
Polygala myrtifolia, pea bush (Sth.Africa - weed potential)
Raphiolepis delacouri, Indian hawthorn
Viburnum odoratissimum, viburnum

(4) Presbyterian Section - update to Plan of Management Survey of vegetation
Additional plant list provided by Stuart Read, 2/2012 **

Acacia sp. (?A.mearnsii), black wattle
A.longifolia, Sydney wattle
Arbutus unedo, Irish/Mediterranean strawberry tree
Arundo donax, giant Danubian reed
Asparagus falcatus, asparagus fern (weed)
Camellia japonica cv., camellia
Cinnamommum camphora, camphor laurel
Coreopsis tinctoria, tick seed (weed)
Cupressus funebris, (Chinese) funeral cypress
Eucalyptus microcorys, tallow wood
Grevillea robusta, silky oak
Indigofera australis, native wisteria
Juniperus chinensis, Chinese juniper
Kalanchoe tubiflora, mother-of-millions
Lantana montevidensis, creeping lantana (sterile - not a weed)
Ligustrum ovalifolium, large-leaved privet
Lophostemon confertus, brush box
Nerium oleander cv., oleander
Phoenix canariensis, Canary Island date palm
Pinus halepensis, Aleppo pine
Pittosporum undulatum, sweet pittosporum
Platycladus orientalis, Chinese arbor vitae, thuja
Polygala myrtifolia, pea bush (Sth.Africa - weed potential)
Raphiolepis delacouri, Indian hawthorn
Rhododendron indicum cv., azalea
Rosa sp./hybrid/cv., roses (several cv.s)
Spiraea cantonensis, may bush
Verbena bonariensis, vervain
V.rigida, vervain
Viburnum tinus, laurustinus
Wisteria sinensis, Chinese wisteria

** these three lists may have nothing new in them - alas I did not have on me the relevant pages from the Plan of Management Vegetation Survey to cross-check survival/add to. Checking against these precincts in that document will show if any of these are 'new' species/not (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 10/4/2012).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition - fair. Archaeological Potential - medium
Date condition updated:11 Jun 98
Modifications and dates: 1862 - Government purchases 200 acres near Haslem's Creek station (later Lidcombe)(in north west of current Necropolis lands). Originally six denominations: Roman Catholic, Anglican, Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Jews and Independent (Schwager Brooks et al, 1996)
1866 - Entire cemetery enclosed, access roads built and denominational subsections cleared.
1864 - branch railway line to cemetery handed over - first record of funeral train 4/1864
1867 - Necropolis first dedicated (Schwager Brooks & Partners, 19..), Necropolis Act and burials commenced, railway line and siding provided, and opens.
7th April 1868 - All land dedicated as cemetery.
1869 Mortuary Station number one opens.
1874-1882 - Serpentine drain constructed in Church of England Section.
1878-9 Necropolis enlarged with purchase of additional 577 acres to accomodate demand for burial plots (Schwager Brooks et al, 1996)
1869 - two sandstone receiving houses (for funeral trains) built, one at Regent St., Redfern, one in the Necropolis
1879 - Government purchases 577 acres of adjoining land.
1890 - St Michael the Archangel Chapel built.
1897 - Railway branch line extended.
1901 - Railway branch line extended with (now) four cemetery stations.
1908 - Railway branch line extended
1923 - Crematorium opens.
1948 - Railway branch line closes - Lidcombe station services Mortuary trains
1952 - Railway line pulled up and stations sold.
1957 - No 1 Mortuary Railway Station removed (to become the North Ainslie Anglican Church, Canberra, ACT)

5/2006 9 mature maritime pines (Pinus pinaster) removed, Independent Cemetery near Haslem's Drive, West
Also 28 matured (1989) she oak (Casuarina sp.) trees removed between southern wall of NSW Garden of Remembrance and AWG Boundary with Section 20 of the Anglican Cemetery (JCNTrustees, meeting 10-01, Executive Manager's Report, 5/7/06).
Further information: NOTE: The PCO for this item only covers 180 acres of the original Rookwood Necropolis. The No 1 General Cemetary (1 acre) and the undeveloped part nominated as 'General Cemetery' are not covered by a PCO.
Current use: Cemetery
Former use: Cemetery

History

Historical notes: By the mid 1850s the need for a new Sydney cemetery was becoming urgent. In 1860 the Government advertised that it wanted to purchase land along the railway for a cemetery. After a number of site inspections the Government had narrowed its choice to two possible sites, the Wentworth's Homebush Estate and the Hyde Park Estate.

On the 18th September 1862 the Government of New South Wales purchased 200 acres of the Hyde Park Estate owned by Mr Edward Cohen. During the same month Surveyor Heady sketched the site for the cemetery. By November 1862 Charles Moore, Director of the Botanical Gardens had begun supervising the fencing of the land. In 1863 the Lands Department invited the major denominations to nominate trustees for portions of the cemetery. The area was divided among the denominations according to their proportion in the population in the 1861 census. Roman Catholic, Church of England, Independent (Congregational), Wesleyan, Presbyterian and Jews were invited to name their trustees. Within the area allocated, preparation of the cemetery grounds was to be at the expense of each denomination. At this time the area was known as Haslem's Creek Necropolis.

In June 1864 Colonial Architect, James Barnet, submitted plans for the construction of a lodge for a manager and this was constructed by mid 1865. In December 1865 the Government surveyor, John Armstrong, surveyed the route for the railway into the cemetery and it was opened in April 1867. Rookwood was unusual internationally in having two specially designed 'necropolis' railway stations to cater for funerals and visitors - one at Sydney (Regent Street), which still survives and one in the cemetery, since dismantled and re-erected as a church in Canberra.

Management of the Haslem's Creek Necropolis was resolved by the passing of the Necropolis Act of 1867, which specified that the internal arrangements and ornamentation of each section of the cemetery were to be managed by the nominated trusts. Burials commenced in January 1867 under the authority of this Act.

Between 1874 and 1882 the serpentine drain was constructed in the Church of England No.1 cemetery.

More ground was soon needed so in July 1879 the government purchased 577 acres of adjoining land to the south and east. The new trust areas were gazetted in February 1889. As a result of the cemetery expansion, the railway was extended in 1897 and again in 1908.

In 1881 bushfire caused extensive damage to property at Rookwood. (Daily Telegraph archive)

By 1890 one of the most impressive buildings was the St Michael the Archangel Chapel built by Sims and Devitt.

A major change to the Necropolis was the introduction of facilities for cremation. Amendments to the Necropolis Act in 1923 set aside 4 acres for a crematorium. It was opened in 1925 and was the second crematorium in Australia.

With the advent of motor cars and buses the railway closed in 1948 and the line and station buildings were sold in 1952. (CALM 1993) (National Trust 1988)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of remembrance-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of contemplation and devotion-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Gardens and landscapes reminiscent of an 'old country'-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes demonstrating styles in landscape design-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Gardens celebrating multiculturalism-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant tree(s) providing urban amenity-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing and marking grave furnishings and ornamentation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing landscapes in an exemplary style-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Operating and maintaining cemeteries and burial grounds-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Remembering the deceased-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Burying and remembering notable persons-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Burying the dead in customary ways-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Rookwood Necropolis is one of the largest burial grounds in the world and contains the largest 19th century cemetery in Australia. The scale of design, gardenesque layout, high quality and diversity of structures, monuments and details of the oldest sections of Rookwood Necropolis represent a rare surviving example of mid to late 19th century ideals for a major public cemetery. (National Trust 1988)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Many of the monuments are of outstanding aesthetic quality. Rookwood is so large that vistas can be found within it that are completely contained within the cemetery landscape, providing an aesthetic retreat for the senses of the viewer. (National Trust 1988)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Rookwood Necropolis is a tangible manifestation of the social history of Sydney, documenting the cultural and religious diversity of the Australian community since 1867. Prominent individuals and families are recorded in memorials containing significant biographical information. The progressive layering, development and diversity of styles of memorialisation document the conceptual move away from the 19th century perception of death and dying to the more rationalist view prevailing at the present time. As a social document and genealogical resource Rookwood Necropolis is unique in its scale and comprehensiveness. The Necropolis is the burial place of a large number of noteworthy individuals. (National Trust 1988)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The monumental masonry and other types of craftsmanship, including cast and wrought ironwork are fine examples of craft processes and reflect social attitudes to death and fashions in funery ornamentation since 1867. The necropolis provides a habitat for two rare and endangered plant species. (National Trust 1988)
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementProduce an Archaeological Management Plan (AMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Record converted from HIS events


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
1) Manual clearing of paths and drains;
(2) Hand weeding of grave plots;
(3) Mowing of lawns and paths;
(4) The current Commonwealth Employment Scheme work program or others as approved from time to time by the Manager, Heritage and Conservation Branch;
(5) Poisoning of weeds by careful spot application of a herbicide (eg. Roundup or Zero) not affecting ornamental or symbolic plantings of remnant native vegetation.
(6) Sympathetic repair and maintenance of existing roads, paths, signs and drains;
(7) Continued use of existing family vaults;
(8) Interments, including placement of ashes, where no new memorial is required, except for memorials as described below;
(9) Erection of standard memorials in any areas used by religious orders or the Armed Services;
(10) Erection of memorials in family plots remaining in use provided memorials are in keeping with those existing;
(11) Erection of standard memorials in the Catholic Lawn Cemetery (site of Necropolis 1 Railway Station);
(12) Relettering / addition of inscriptions or bronze / stainless steel plaques to existing monuments;
Nov 21 1986
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act See File For Schedule


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) Manual clearing of paths and drains;
(2) Hand weeding of grave plots;
(3) Mowing of lawns and paths;
(4) Careful spraying of paths with selective herbicide;
(5) Poisoning of weeds by careful spot application of herbicide (eg. Roundup or Zero) in a manner which will not affect ornamental or symbolic plantings of remnant native vegetation.
(6) Remedial tree surgery carried out according to professional hortictultural standards;
(7) Removal of dead, dying or dangerous trees or tree limbs in cases where there is a public safety risk;
(8) Suppression of fires in cases of threat to human lives, property or cemetery monuments;
(9) Maintenance of any roads, paths, signs, fences, drains and buildings, where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing materials;
(10) Work programmes as approved from time to time by the Manager, Heritage Branch;
(11) Continued use of existing family vaults;
(12) Interments, including placement of ashes, where no new memorial is required, except for memorials as described below;
(13) Erection of standard memorials in any areas used by religious orders or the Armed Services;
(14) Erection of memorials in family plots remaining in use provided memorials are in keeping with those existing;
(15) Erection of standard memorials in the Catholic Lawn Cemetery (site of Necropolis, 1 Railway Station);
(16) Relettering or addition of inscriptions or attachment of stainless steel plaques to existing monuments;
Oct 28 1988
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions 10 November 1989
NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT GAZETTE No 109 (page 9521)

Heritage Act, 1977
ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)

I, the Minister for Local Government and Minister for Planning, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act, 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of the said Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule "C" by the owner, mortgagee, or lessee of the land described in Schedule "B" on the items described in Schedule "A". ( HC 30651)

DAVID HAY
Minister for Local Government and Minister for Planning.
Sydney 27th October, 1989



SCHEDULE "A"

The buildings, works, relics and place known as the No.1 Section, Rookwood Cemetery, Lidcombe, situated on the land described in Schedule "B".

SCHEDULE "B"

All those pieces or parcels of land shown edged in heavy black on the plan catalogued H.C. 1770 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE "C"

1) Manual clearing of paths and drains;

2) Hand weeding of grave plots;

3) Mowing of lawns and paths;

4) Careful spraying of paths with selective herbicide;

5) Poisoning of weeds by careful spot application of herbicide (e.g. Roundup or Zero ) in a manner which will not affect ornamental or symbolic plants or remnant native vegetation;

6) Remedial tree surgery carried out according to professional horticultural standards;

7) Removal of dead, dying or dangerous trees or tree limbs in cases where there is a public safety risk;

8) Suppression of fires in cases of threat to human lives, property or cemetery monuments;

9) Maintenance of any roads, paths, signs, fences, drains and buildings, where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing materials;

10) Work programmes as approved from time to time by the Manager, Heritage Branch;

11) Continued use of existing family vaults;

12) Interments, including placement of ashes, where no new memorial is required, except for memorials as described below;

13) Erection of standard memorials in any areas used by religious orders or the Armed Services;

14) Erection of memorials in family plots remaining in use provided memorials are in keeping with those existing;

15) Erection of standard memorials in the Catholic lawn Cemetery (site of Necropolis, 1 Railway Station ) ;

16) Relettering or addition of inscriptions or attachment of stainless steel plaques to existing monuments;

17) All other activities provided for in the Plan of Management, as endorsed by the Heritage Council, and any amendments to this Plan of Management endorsed by the Heritage Council in the future.
Nov 10 1989
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act See File For Schedule.

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) Manual clearing of paths and drains;
(2) Hand weeding of grave plots;
(3) Mowing of lawns and paths;
(4) Careful spraying of paths with selective herbicide;
(5) Poisoning of weeds by careful spot application of herbicide (eg. Roundup or Zero) in a manner which will not affect ornamental or symbolic plants or remnant native vegetation;
(6) Remedial tree surgery carried out according to professional hortictultural standards;
(7) Removal of dead, dying or dangerous trees or tree limbs in cases where there is a public safety risk;
(8) Suppression of fires in cases of threat to human lives, property or cemetery monuments;
(9) Maintenance of any roads, paths, signs, fences, drains and buildings, where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing materials;
(10) Work programmes as approved from time to time by the Manager, Heritage Branch;
(11) Continued use of existing family vaults;
(12) Interments, including placement of ashes, where no new memorial is required, except for memorials as described below;
(13) Erection of standard memorials in any areas used by religious orders or the Armed Services;
(14) Erection of memorials in family plots remaining in use provided memorials are in keeping with those existing;
(15) Erection of standard memorials in the Catholic Lawn Cemetery (site of Necropolis, 1 Railway Station);
(16) Relettering or addition of inscriptions or attachment of stainless steel plaques to existing monuments;
(17) All other activities provided for in the Plan of Management, as endorsed by the Heritage Council, and any ammendments to this Plan of Management endorsed by the Heritage Council in the future.
Nov 10 1989
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementManagement Plan for indigenous vegetation This is actually a Plan of Management, for Indigenous Vegetation only Apr 4 1996
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentBushland Plan of Management for Rookwood Necropolic (draft 2) Jun 21 2005
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0071802 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Icons Project Nomination for SHR listing  29 Jul 04   
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0071810 Nov 89 109 
National Trust of Australia register   02 Mar 81   
Register of the National Estate  12 Aug 87   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Auburn heritage study draft final report1996 Neustein & Associates  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Rookwood Cemetery and Necropolis View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Rookwood Cemetery and Necropolis View detail
WrittenDepartment of Conservation and Land Management1993Rookwood Necropolis Plan of Management
WrittenDesign 5 Architects2003Quong Sin Tong monument No.1 General Cemetery, Rookwood Cemetery, Rookwood, Sydney, NSW 2141 : Conservation management plan
WrittenDevine, Matthew2000'The Necropolis at Rookwood - the garden of mourning'
ElectronicEmail Address for Friends of Rookwood2004Email Address for Friends of Rookwood View detail
WrittenFairley, Alan2004Seldom Seen: Rare Plants of Greater Sydney
ElectronicFriends of Rookwood Homepage2004Friends of Rookwood Homepage View detail
WrittenHeritage Roses in Australia (NSW): Welch, Bruce & Jones, Esmond (letters)1988Appendix 10: Roses at Rookwood (part of Plan of Management
WrittenJones, Esmond (Heritage Roses in Australia)1988Rookwood Cemetery: some observations on the state of the Old Fashioned Roses in the area taken over the last 9 or 10 years
WrittenKass, Terry, in Neustein & Associates1995Historical context report, Auburn Heritage Study
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW) Cemeteries Committee1988National Trust Classification Card
WrittenNSW Department of Primary Industries - Catchments & Lands2013Rookwood Necropolis - draft Plan of Management
WrittenNSW Department of Public Works1988Rookwood Necropolis: Plan of management
WrittenP & J Smith Ecological Consultants1999Flora & Fauna Survey of Rookwood Necropolis
WrittenSchwager Brooks & Partners, Higginbotham, E. & Associates, Taylor, D.M. Landscape Architects1996Rookwood Necropolis entry, in Auburn Heritage Study
WrittenSiobhan Lavelle1996Rookwood Necropolis: archaeological appraisal of sites of former buildings and abandoned and derelict buildings, ruins and structures Author: Lavelle, Siobhan.; Pagination: 1 v. : ill. Publisher: Woodford, NSW: The Author,
WrittenSiobhan Lavelle1992Summary report on archaeological investigations of the No.1 mortuary station and necropolis circuit, Rookwood Necropolis, Sydney, NSW
WrittenSociety of Australian Genealogists; Sigrist, David A.; Weston, David A. 1932-; Burge, David A.;1989The Sleeping city: the story of Rookwood Necropolis
WrittenUrban Bushland Management2003Bushland plan of management for Rookwood Necropolis
WrittenWelch, Bruce1986'Rookwood Necropolis - a Victorian Landscape'
WrittenZammit, Jane2011'Conserving the roses of Rookwood'

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045470
File number: EF14/4346; S90/1798, H04/91/8


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