• Date: 08/08/2017
  • Cemetery: GMCT Home

“I think there is a need to have more open reflective spaces. Cemeteries are a space where you need to go and maybe just recollect your memories and reflect about where you’ve come from, and where you’re going.”

–Krisha, radio caller


In July, GMCT CEO Jacqui Weatherill joined 774 radio host Hilary Harper in studio for her breakfast program to talk about the role of cemeteries as emotive landscapes, offering people tranquility, recreation and the opportunity to “heal their soul”.  

Following an interview in June, Jacqui again appeared on the Saturday program to reflect on how cemeteries could best meet the sensory and emotional needs of the communities they serve.

“For local communities, just to walk through [a cemetery] and experience peace and tranquillity when our lives are so busy and hectic is a really important thing.”

“People can heal their soul in this piece of nature, which is in the local community. Because at the end of the day, nature is good medicine.

 “It’s not just a cemetery space, it’s a peaceful public open space for the community to enjoy, to walk their dog, to cycle through.”

Jacqui spoke of considerations at play when developing new memorial landscapes and which need to be considered by the trust. 

“When we’re designing new cemeteries these days, we’re looking at it with a multifaceted approach. It’s got to consider multicultural communities. It’s got to meet a broad range of needs, not just one need. We’re looking for our [cemetery] spaces to be long term, important public spaces in urban areas,” she said.

“There’s been plenty of research into plantings at cemeteries. What we’re finding is that different communities relate to different types of landscapes.”

Jacqui said sensory gardens were increasing in popularity.  

“Sensory gardens are really important in this day and age…they [evoke] lots of memories for people. They remember a time and place they were around some beautiful lavender, for example – it evokes an emotional response.”

During the program, Jacqui took calls from listeners keen to ask questions on a range of topics including "green" burial options, rabbits, the reopening of the Fawkner tearooms, grave tenure, phone towers on cemetery land, live streaming of funerals, going digital and a Google maps-type system for helping people navigate to graves.

Audio from part of the program is available here and here.


Jacqui (left) in the studio with Hilary Harper.