A freelance writer from Melbourne, I blog at www.littlegirlwithabigpen.wordpress.com
Published July 12th 2011
Located on High Street, Kew, the Boroondara General Cemetery features some really strange and wonderful grave sites. Far from a macabre cemetery, this one is a decent place to spend an afternoon wandering, getting lost in the stories grave sites can tell.
Running since the mid-1800's, the oldest grave site is dated 1859.
While parts of the cemetery are being reclaimed by shrubbery and vines, it isn't like the disrepair of some smaller cemeteries. Paths and roads make it easy to move around, so you won't miss anything.
One grave site you mustn't miss (and can't, for its sheer scale) is the Springthorpe Memorial. Completed in 1907, Annie Springthorpe is buried in a vault beneath this great, overwhelming memorial structure. Beneath a red stained-glass dome held up on granite that was shipped from Scotland just for this purpose. Inside this temple is a sculpture of fierce angels guarding the sleeping Annie. Ancient Greek text runs around the temple, and on the floor are testaments to Annie's life, dedicated to being a wife and mother.
Other sites worth taking the trouble to find are the Cussen and Symes memorials (both large scale monuments), and the unexplained bronze dog guarding the Serrell grave site.
Whether you come for a 20 minute stroll around the perimeter, or spend whole days at a time engrossed in what people will do to remember their loved ones, the Boroondara General Cemetery has much to offer.
I recently saw the site of St Nicholas's grave - or at least where the tomb marker is, it hasn't been proved that his body lies there - and it was fascinating. Old cemetaries are very interesting places to reflect and feel peaceful - especially since they are usually situated on prime land with great views.
I totally agree with it being a great place for some quiet time. The Springthorpe Memorial is one of my favourite places to just be quiet for a while... And it's an overwhelmingly positive place, because it was built out of such love...