Northern Suburbs Crematorium and Memorial Gardens | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Northern Suburbs Crematorium and Memorial Gardens

Item details

Name of item: Northern Suburbs Crematorium and Memorial Gardens
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Cemeteries and Burial Sites
Category: Crematorium
Primary address: 197 Delhi Road, North Ryde, NSW 2113
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
197 Delhi RoadNorth RydeRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The Northern Suburbs Crematorium and Memorial Gardens are of historical significance as only the 2nd crematorium to be built in NSW (the first being at Rookwood Necropolis, also designed by Bloomfield). The Crematorium and Memorial Gardens evidences changing funeral requirements in early 20th century Sydney. The Memorial Gardens are of historical significance as a place memorialising the lives of more than 60,000 people, including past members of the Ryde community. The Crematoirum and Memorial Gardens have historical association with the designer, architect Frank L'Anson Bloomfield of Bloomfield & McCulloch. The Memorial Gardens also have historical association with Norman Weekes (best known for his re-design of the landscape of Sydney's Hyde Park in the 1920s), who developed and expanded the original landscape design philosophy of the Memorial Gardens from the late 1940s through to the 1960s. The Crematorium is of aesthetic significance as a fine, architect-designed, Inter-War Romanesque style builidng. The Memorial Gardens are of aesthetic significance as a designed Inter-war period 20th century landscape, containing fine examples of craftsmanship in a variety of garden types from very formal Mediterranean-inspired landscapes to natural bush settings adjoining Lane Cove National Park. Of particular note are topiary confier garden around the West Chapel and a formal garden between the North Chapel and the curved pergola featuring a rare glazed ceramic mural of Royal Doulton tiles salvaged from the premises of John Shorter & Co, when the company rebuilt its showrooms in the mid 1930s. Also significant are the fine wrought iron entrance gates to the Garden of Remembrance fabricated by R. Lachman of Warrawee to Bloomfield's design, complementing the wrought ironwork in the West and North Chapels. The place has social and research significance for family historians for its genealogical information. The Crematorium and Memorial Gardens are rare at a state level in NSW. Of particular interest are the Crematorium itself, the early columbaria, the formal built landscape elements and many of the ornamental plantings, The Crematorium is rare as only the second in NSW, the first outside an existing cemetery, and one of only five inter-war period crematoria in NSW. The Crematorium is representative of early 20th century Crematorium buildings within a designed landscape setting.
Date significance updated: 17 Dec 12
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Frank L'Anson Bloomfield of Bloomfield & McCulloch
Physical description: The Northern Suburbs Crematorium and Memorial Gardens are a designed landscape on a discreet site within a bushland setting, bounded by Delhi Road to the west. Within the site, the road pattern and memorial gardens are curvilinear, with the buildings set within a central circle. Later additions, such as a carpark, and later memorial gardens, have followed the original curvilinear planning of the site,

BUILDINGS:
The Crematorium building was planned with a principal chapel to accommodate about 300, having a sanctuary, organ gallery and recessed catafalque, and a second and smaller chapel at right angles to the former, from which it is entirely disconnected, that provides accommodation for about 100 people. The main chapel is entered by a massive portal with rough sandstone quoins and voussoirs, which emphasise the entrance against the cream wall surface. The vestibule is ceiled low, the organ gallery being situated above. The ceiling of the chapel takes the form of a continuous barrel vault, pierced at intervals by semi-circular headed openings which break into the main line of the vault as lunettes, and are infilled with beautiful stained glass leadlights executed by the Standard Glass Works. The walls of the chapel, which are broken by recessed openings with delightful wrought ironwork grille gates for the reception of urns, are of Morene in a Travertine stone finish marked out in courses and crowned by a simple gorge mould. The sanctuary and catafalque are sheathed in marble, supplied by Melocco Bros, and the chapel is paved with square flagstones of synthetic stone. The smaller chapel is similarly treated, with the exception that it has an open timber roof brightened up by a touch of red here and there upon the woodwork of the trusses. Loggias have been provided in the internal angle formed by these two chapels, thus providing shelter while waiting for the service to commence. A common vestry serves both chapels. A feature of both the interior and exterior of the buildings is the beauty of the wrought iron gates and grilles which were executed by R Lachman, of Marshall Avenue, Warrawee to Bloomfield's design.

LANDSCAPE: A series of designed memorial gardens, the earliest closest to and north and south of the main buildings, following curvilinear layouts. The gardens are set within a natural screen of native trees along the site's boundaries.

Elements of significance include: north terrace gardens, original path layout, pergola, glazed ceramic panel, water feature, sundial, ornamental stonework, stairways and columbarium walls; the Maltese Cross garden; the West Terrace garden, the original road layout, the West Chapel courtyard garden, the Eastern gardens including orginal sections of P & O walls, N Walls and Q walls; the South Terrace garden, rosary and gazebo.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:09 Jan 12
Modifications and dates: Additional chapels added later in a similar style: circa 1960: East Chapel Wing including office added; 1984: South Chapel Wing added; modern car park.
Current use: Crematorium
Former use: Crematorium

History

Historical notes: AREA HISTORY
Aboriginal people inhabited the Sydney basin for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. The northern coastal area of Sydney was home to the Guringai people, western Sydney was home to the Dharug clans, and southern Sydney was inhabited by the Dharawal clans. The AHO and the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, the recognised custodians for this area, as well as members of the local Aboriginal community generally agree that the term Guringai may not be the original name for the area, tribe or language, however, given the lack of any credible alternative, it is considered to be an appropriate and convenient term to represent the area as distinct from other parts of Sydney. The clan names are in some regards less contentious for some areas. The City of Ryde Council area is commonly accepted to be Wallumedegal country (various spellings).

The Guringai lived primarily along the foreshores of the harbour, and fished and hunted in the waters and hinterlands of the area. All clans harvested food from their surrounding bush. Self-sufficient and harmonious, they had no need to travel far from their lands, since the resources around them were so abundant, and trade with other tribal groups was well established. The British arrival in 1788 had a dramatic impact on all of the Sydney clans. Food resources were quickly diminished by the invaders, who had little understanding of the local environment. As a result, the Aboriginal people throughout the Sydney Basin were soon close to starvation. The Sydney clans fought back against the invaders, but the introduction of diseases from Europe and Asia, most notably smallpox, destroyed over half the population. The clearing of land for settlements and farms displaced local tribes and reduced the availability of natural food resources, leaving Aboriginal people reliant on white food and clothing. The French surgeon and pharmacist Rene Primavere Lesson, who visited Sydney in 1824, wrote: "the tribes today are reduced to fragments scattered all around Port Jackson, on the land where their ancestors lived and which they do not wish to leave." (Information taken from City of Ryde Aboriginal Site Management Report, Aboriginal Heritage Office, 2011).

The suburbs known today as North Ryde and Macquarie Park were formed from the Field of Mars Common, an area of 5050 acres (2044 hectares) declared in 1804 by Governor King as one of six ‘commons’ in the Colony, to be used for the grazing of livestock by local residents. The Common followed the path of the Lane Cove River and consisted mainly of heavily timbered bush. By the 1840s the area was notorious as the haunt of unsavory society, home to a range of activities such as gambling, sly grog selling and a range of antisocial activities. Following many years of community agitation and debate including a Parliamentary Select Committee, by 1874 the Common was formally resumed to allow sale and settlement by small farmers. The money raised was to be used to fund the crossings of the Parramatta River at Gladesville and Iron Cove, both of which were being demanded by the residents of the Ryde area.

A regular grid pattern of streets was laid out and the land away from the river was subdivided into small farms of between 0.4 and 1.6ha, with areas reserved for open space and special purposes such as the Northern Suburbs Cemetery, which was created in 1922. The street names chosen throughout the area continued the martial tradition of the “Field of Mars” and referenced famous battles and British victories. Development in the area was slow, but a range of small farms such as poultry and market gardens, each with a modest dwelling, were established throughout the district. Many of these poultry farms were established in the years following the First World War as part of the Soldier Settlement Scheme. Unlike in many other areas where the Scheme was established, it appears to have thrived in the area, with claims being made in 1946 that poultry stock averaged 150,000 p.a., with over 1,000,000 day old chicks being produced annually (quoted in Levy, p77). Other agricultural activities included market gardening and the production of a wide range of produce for the Sydney Markets, including fruit, vegetables, flowers, small livestock, milk and eggs. One of the most significant early ventures was the House of David’s poultry farm and sawmill, and their later diversification into the Eden Park picnic ground, zoo, tennis courts and music bowl. The banks of the Lane Cove River were reserved for recreation and a series of "Pleasure Resorts" were created along its foreshores, including the "Fairyland Pleasure Grounds" to the east of the Cemetery which was a popular destination for the first half of the 20th Century.

Most of the area remained in small rural holdings which was formalised by the creation of the County of Cumberland’s Planning Scheme in 1949 which identified the area as part of Sydney’s Green Belt. By the mid-1960s there was increasing demand for the release of land for development and much of Macquarie Park was zoned to provide a light industrial ‘business park’ for scientific and technological industries that would support the newly established Macquarie University. The University opened to students in 1967, with the main site being developed from 1968. The campus was designed to capitalise on its bushland setting, with the buildings nestled under the tree canopy. The newly settled area was supported by the opening of the Macquarie Shopping Centre in 1981 and the formalisation of "Macquarie Park"as a separate suburb from North Ryde.

Major infrastructure was late to arrive in the area, although two major roads, Lane Cove Road and Epping Road, pass through the suburb. Lane Cove Road was an important early road (known originally as Soudan Road) that crosses from north to south, crossing the highest navigable point in the Lane Cove river. A timber truss bridge was completed across the river in 1901, allowing access by vehicles to Pymble and the North Shore. This bridge was replaced by the current De Burghs Bridge in 1967. Epping Road is a major access road between Lane Cove and Sydney’s north-west which opened in 1940. The major road known as the M2 tollway opened in 1997 and cuts through Macquarie Park above the Lane Cove River Reserve. Following over 100 years of agitation for a railway, the Epping to Chatswood rail link finally opened in 2006, with stations at North Ryde, Macquarie Park and Macquarie University.

Local residents of North Ryde have a history of public activism in support of the dedication of public parkland. In 1923 the Mayor of Ryde met with councillors from the neighbouring Willoughby and Ku-ring-gai areas to discuss the preservation of parkland along the Lane Cove River. The move was strongly supported by local residents and the local councils began reserving land along the river. Lane Cove National Park was officially opened in 1938. In 1986 local residents in the Twin Road area fought to have a small patch of natural bush land protected.

ITEM HISTORY
In 1931 designs were prepared for the erection of this building in a portion of the Gore Hill Cemetery, but after some delay the Minister for Lands withheld his sanction and this site had to be abandoned. However, a new site was made available and acquired by the Crematorium Society of NSW, situated on the corner of Delhi Road and Millward Road, North Ryde. A section of Argot Road has been closed, thus giving a total area of 6 acres, 1 road, 23 perches for the erection of the Crematorium. The site is adjacent to the Northern Suburbs Cemetery. The architect for the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Mr F I A Bloomfield, has captured all the charm of the ancient Romanesque churches and monastic buildings which are dotted over the countryside of Northern Italy. The towering campanile, the arched loggias, the massive doorway and shadow-casing machicolations all combine to this effect. Although one is more accustomed to see the distinctive cypress casting its cool shadows upon the white walls of such architecture the building combines very satisfactorily with our native landscape and flora, upon its virgin site adjacent to Fuller's Road between Chatswood and Ryde."

The building, cost around 16,000 pounds, was completed in 1933 and officially opened on 28 October 1933.

The East Chapel Wing, which includes the office, was added to the original building about 1960 and the South Chapel Wing was added in 1984.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing Community-
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. Cemeteries-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Northern Suburbs Crematorium and Memorial Gardens are of historical significance as only the 2nd crematorium to be built in NSW (the first being at Rookwood Necropolis, also designed by Bloomfield). The Crematorium and Memorial Gardens evidences changing funeral requirements in early 20th century Sydney. The Memorial Gardens are of historical significance as a place memorialising the lives of more than 60,000 people, including past members of the Ryde community.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Crematoirum and Memorial Gardens have historical association with the designer, architect Frank L'Anson Bloomfield of Bloomfield & McCulloch. The Memorial Gardens also have historical association with Norman Weekes (best known for his re-design of the landscape of Sydney's Hyde Park in the 1920s), who developed and expanded the original landscape design philosophy of the Memorial Gardens from the late 1940s through to the 1960s.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Crematorium is of aesthetic significance as a fine, architect-designed, Inter-War Romanesque style builidng. The Memorial Gardens are of aesthetic significance as a designed Inter-war period 20th century landscape, containing fine examples of craftsmanship in a variety of garden types from very formal Mediterranean-inspired landscapes to natural bush settings adjoining Lane Cove National Park. Of particular note are topiary confier garden around the West Chapel and a formal garden between the North Chapel and the curved pergola featuring a rare glazed ceramic mural of Royal Doulton tiles salvaged from the premises of John Shorter & Co, when the company rebuilt its showrooms in the mid 1930s. Also significant are the fine wrought iron entrance gates to the Garden of Remembrance fabricated by R. Lachman of Warrawee to Bloomfield's design, complementing the wrought ironwork in the West and North Chapels.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place has social significance for family historians for its genealogical information.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The place has research significance for family historians for its genealogical information.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Crematorium and Memorial Gardens are rare at a state level in NSW. Of particular interest are the Crematorium itself, the early columbaria, the formal built landscape elements and many of the ornamental plantings, The Crematorium is rare as only the second in NSW, the first outside an existing cemetery, and one of only five inter-war period crematoria in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Crematorium is representative of early 20th century Crematorium buildings within a designed landscape setting.
Integrity/Intactness: Intact.
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:

DOCUMENTATION: A Heritage Impact Statement is required by Council to accompany any Development Application for non-minor work. The policy in the 2010 Conservation Management Plan should be generally followed. Please consult Council staff about your proposal and the level of documentation that will be required as early as possible in the process. Note that Council has adopted planning provisions to assist in the making of minor changes that will not have any impact on the significance of properties without the need to prepare a formal application or Heritage Impact Statement. In this case Council must be consulted in writing to confirm the nature of the works. APPROACHES TO MANAGING THE HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROPERTY: (Note: the detailed requirements for each property will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The following advice provides general principles that should be respected by all development.) Management of the site should follow the policies of the 2010 Conservation Management Plan. Buildings: All significant exterior fabric should be retained and conserved. The external surfaces and materials of significant facades (should be retained, and painted surfaces painted in appropriate colours. Sandstone and face brickwork should not be painted or coated. Significant door and window openings should not be enlarged or enclosed. Landscape: Policy of the 2010 Conservation Management Plan should be followed. The overall curvilinear pattern of memorial gardens, roads and paths should be retained and followed for new paths, gardens, roads and other elements. OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHANGE: All development should respect the principle of ‘do as much as necessary but as little as possible’. Respecting the scale and overall forms, proportions and rhythms of the historic fabric is critical. As a general principle, all major alterations and additions should NOT: - result in demolition of significant fabric - result in excessive site cover; - be visually prominent or overwhelm the existing buildings. and should be: - visually subservient and have minimal impact on heritage significance Single storey extensions to buildings will generally be preferred over two-storey forms unless there is a sound heritage reason to do otherwise. The site should be primarily managed as an historic site and open space/passive recreation for the members of the Parish and the relatives of the deceased, the people of Ryde Municipality and Community. The overall plan of the site should be retained and conserved and continue in its current use.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 201046   
Local Environmental PlanRyde Draft LEP 2011I46   
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 2014I4602 Sep 14   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLEP No. 105 17 Jan 03 14 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ryde Heritage Study1988180Jonathan Falk Planning Consutants P/L Assoc with Rodney Jensen and Assoc P/L  No
Review of 1988 Ryde Heritage Study.2002 Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects.  Yes
Review of 1988 Ryde Heritage Study.2002 Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects.  Yes
Ryde SHI Review Stage 12012 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenChris Betteridge & David Beaver2005Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens & Crematorium: Conservation Management Plan & Landscape Master Plan
WrittenGeorge Redding1986A History of North Ryde 1850-1950
WrittenMargaret Farlow2008North Ryde suburb history, Dictionary of Sydney online
WrittenNBRS & Partners2005Statement of Heritage Impact: proposed additions & alterations Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Delhi Road, North Ryde
WrittenSydney Morning Herald, Monday 30 October 19331933"Most Hygienic Method": Opening of New Building
WrittenSydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 5 April 19321932Building and Construction: Northern Suburbs Crematorium Approved

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2340067


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