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10 Reasons to Visit Rookwood Necropolis

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by glenop (subscribe)
So much to little time to see it all.
Published August 19th 2015
Dying to know more about Rookwood?
There are a million reasons to visit Rookwood

There are, of course, more than 10 reasons to call into Rookwood Necropolis. There are a million reasons. There is an estimated one million people who have been buried or interred at Rookwood since it opened in 1868 and each one has a story to tell. At 268 hectares, it is the largest cemetery in the southern hemisphere and it's so big that it is regarded as a suburb sharing postcode 2141 with Lidcombe. It was once served by four railway stations located within the cemetery.

Visiting a cemetery as a leisure activity may seem a little bizarre, but Rookwood is remarkable for many reasons. It has many architecturally significant and impressive monuments and chapels. It is the final resting place of many prominent Australians and even has its own café/restaurant.

Here are ten reasons why you should visit Rookwood. If visiting Rookwood seems daunting, you can take a tour with the Friends of Rookwood. They operate tours on the first Sunday of every month from March to November.

1. The King Family Tomb

1. The King Family Vault. No, this isn't some ancient tomb on the Appian Way near Rome, it's the monumental family vault of the King family, one of many impressive vaults within Rookwood.

2. Ancestor Hunting

2. Looking for the graves of long lost ancestors at Rookwood makes for a great day out for all the family. Frustrating at times due to its lack of signage, headstones and reference points, but extremely rewarding when you finally find your man/woman.

3. Watson's Vault

3. If this looks vaguely familiar, this is why. The gothic revival Watson family vault was designed by William Wardell who also designed St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.

4. Monumental Scenery

4. Some of the more monumental monuments in the Anglican, Jewish and Presbyterian sections at old Rookwood make for mighty impressive scenery.

5. Serpentine Canal

5. The serene Serpentine Canal snakes through the Rookwood Necropolis and dates back to c1880. There are numerous ponds which have benefited from recent restoration works.

6. Rookwood's Chapels

6. The St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Chapel is one of many impressive chapels of the many denominations spread throughout the cemetery.

7. Springtime at Rookwood

7. In late spring, 19th century Rookwood graves are over taken with masses of the bright yellow daisy coreopsis. It really is quite a stunningly beautiful site to behold.

8. What's in a name?

8. Struth there are some odd ones! You can always find interesting names if you look long enough at Rookwood Cemetery.

9. Catholic Clergy Graveyard

9. The long rows of decades of deceased Catholic clergy is a striking and poignant sight at Rookwood.

10. Long forgotten graves

10. How the mighty fall and are so easily and quickly forgotten. James Atkinson was a successful businessman in the mid 19th century. A wool merchant, industrialist, entrepreneur and member for Cumberland in the N.S.W parliament, insolvency ended his political career and he died virtually a pauper at the age of only 59.

There are over a million stories at Rookwood, city of the dead. These are just 10 of them.
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Why? You should be dying to know more about Rookwood
Phone: 9764 2689
Where: Hawthorne Ave, Rookwood, NSW 2141
Cost: Nil
Your Comment
There is some wonderful architectural work gone into those tombs and headstones.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12594) 1816 days ago
This is a great article! Love the pics too
by Seafarrwide (score: 3|1908) 1809 days ago
it was great to see kings Vault I'm one of there far relatives I'm off to go see them in there resting place for the 1st time next week .
by hardc (score: 0|2) 1381 days ago
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