• Date: 25/10/2016
  • Cemetery: GMCT Home

To celebrate History Week 2016, take a look at how Fawkner Memorial Park has changed over time using our interactive sliders.  

Historical image content on this page is sourced from Fawkner Crematorium and Memorial Park by Don Chambers (2006). For more information on the history of the cemetery, check out the fact sheet on our History and Heritage page or read Chambers' detailed account, which was published by Fawkner Memorial Park to celebrate its 100-year anniversary.

A park cemetery for Melbourne's north 

Today, Fawkner Memorial Park is the largest and most diverse cemetery in Australia, covering 113 hectares, with a further 98.6 hectares at the adjacent Northern Memorial Park. The cemetery was planned by noted surveyor and architect Charles R. Heath, who was influenced by the garden cemetery movement. The plan from the 1913 annual report (pictured above), shows the original planned layout of 284 acres of cemetery space. Fawkner's innovative 'half spiderweb' layout with radiating avenues can also be seen in the 2016 aerial photo. 

 

Designing for the post-WW1 era

The c1913 drawing depicts architect Charles Heath's original vision for an ornate entrance to Fawkner Memorial Park, based on the entranceways that characterised grand nineteenth century English cemeteries. This design was never constructed - as it turned out, there was inadequate funding for an entrance of this scale and by the end of the First World War (1914-1919), ideas of architectural grandeur seemed out of place.

 

A natural haven for our chapels and crematorium 

Fawkner Memorial Park was the site of Victoria's first modern, purpose-built crematorium (pictured above right), which was built in 1927. The present day chapel and crematorium complex sits in the same peaceful location, surrounded by bushland, birds and other wildlife. 

 

Fountain to celebrate Fawkner's architect

The C.R Heath Memorial Fountain, erected c1952, sits at the main entrance roundabout at Fawkner Memorial Park. It was dedicated to Charles Heath, the surveyor and architect of Fawkner Memorial Park, following his death in 1948.

 

Mausoleum complex expands to meet demand

Fawkner Memorial Park introduced grand public mausoleums and ornate private mausoleums into Australia in the 1990s. Today, the cemetery's mausoleum complex is one of the largest in the country. The Holy Angels Mausoleum, developed in three stages from 1998 to 2007 (pictured above), has a total of 6179 casket spaces, while the Holy Family Mausoleum, developed in three stages from 1994 to 1996, has a total of 826 casket spaces. To meet community need, the fourth stage of the Holy Angels Mausoleum is currently under construction.

 

Technology transforms customer service 

In recent decades, customer service has been improved dramatically through the introduction of new technologies. Some GMCT receptions are now equipped with digital mapping kiosks and many interment records may be searched online, as cemeteries move away from paper-based records and manual filing systems of the past.