• Date: 14/11/2016
  • Cemetery: GMCT Home

Have you ever wondered why some flowers are more popular in cemeteries than others? Or wanted to know the stories behind the patterns and shapes carved into headstones?

GMCT has developed a series of free resources as part of the new History and Heritage section on our website for you to learn about the symbolism of flowers, plants, carvings and monuments seen in our cemeteries. We’ll continue to add to the resources over time and suggestions are welcome! Email corpcomms@gmct.com.au

Flowers and their meaning

“Many flowers have specific meanings in relation to death, as well as life, and these can sometimes change depending on the geographical region where they were originally grown. They can also change depending on religious contexts.”

When choosing flowers for a grave or wreath, people often prefer flowers with a particularly rich and meaningful symbolism or which were the preferred flowers of the deceased or their family.

Read more to find out about the traditional meanings behind the flowers you might choose for your loved one.

Cemetery plants

“While their symbolism is often related to death, which is why they are common in cemeteries, it is also the fact that these trees or shrubs can survive with little upkeep which makes them ideal cemetery plants.”

In all cultures we find myths and legends related to trees, plants and vegetation.

Some originate from early pagan times and have been incorporated over time into other religions, or which relate to the lands the plants originated from.

Read more to find out about the symbolism and origin of plants and trees in our cemeteries.

Cemetery symbols

“Fashions, even in headstones, change over time so some symbols may only now be found on older headstones.”

Symbols on a headstone may relate to a broad range of personal attributes, such as the person’s occupation, ethnicity, religion, a family coat of arms, or a link to membership of an organisation important to them. 

Read more to learn the meanings of the more common symbols found in cemetery carvings and headstones.