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Springvale Botanical Cemetery

Home > Melbourne > Picnic Spots | Parks | Outdoor | Gardens | Walks
Published May 3rd 2016
Why you need to visit this cemetery

Weird. Morbid. Creepy. Why? Just some of the things said when I told a few different people I was planning to visit the Springvale Botanical Cemetery.

Those who served

What I found was tranquil, well-tended, delightful green spaces to rival many of Melbourne's best known gardens. And, wait for it… according to the gardens' official website, this site is the first cemetery to have won the International Cemetery Award outside of the U.S.A. Apparently cemetery awards are a thing. Who knew? The cemetery is so well regarded, people have weddings here, as well as other community events. Takers?

War cemetery section
Respite at the Australian garden

This location is expansive and the website says it sits on some 169 hectares. There are 40 gardens, numerous lawns, a lake or two and water features dotted around the place. The care lavished on these gardens is quite evident. There are also location guide boards everywhere so don't despair of getting lost.

The sign says it all

A significant space is dedicated to Australian war graves and according to the Department of Veteran Affairs website, there are over 600 war graves in this cemetery. There is a corridor of walls inscribed with the names of those who served and died for Australia, and as I visited the cemetery about a week after Anzac Day, I noticed a number of red poppies.

War Cemetery Section
Corridor of Remembrance

Sectioned into a few different areas, I came across an Australian garden, rose gardens, and an Asian garden and burial site. At one point, it felt like I had stumbled into an English countryside circa 1950. One garden is called 'The Garden of No Distant Place.' How could you resist?

Ye olde English Garden

The grounds are beautifully maintained yet not manically or clinically so. When I went, there were autumn leaves in varying shades of red, orange and yellow scattered all over the grounds.

Autumn in the Garden of No Distant Place

There is an air of solemn dignity and solitude. For much of the time I spent wandering around, all I could hear was the sound of the wind, the chirping of birds and the rustling of the leaves in the trees. If mindfulness is what you seek, here you shall find.
Fine feathered friends foraging

My focus was on the actual gardens, however for those interested in history, you can get a dose of that as the cemetery has been in existence since 1901.

Comfort meets style

If you get peckish from walking, you can head over to Café Vita et Flores. It has large well-lit sitting areas, both inside and out. The café caters to functions and also has jazz sessions, and at the time I was there, it was advertising for Mother's Day bookings. Located within the café is also an onsite florist with selections of flowers, candles and floral arrangements.

Cafe Vita et Flores

There were others having a picnic on one of the lawns. The website does encourage people to come in, sit down and have a bite to eat. You are welcome to walk, jog, and bring your dogs too. The cemetery also has botanical tours, and you can register your interest for these online.

The Asian Gardens and Burial Section

While there are plenty of traditional aspects around what a cemetery looks like, there have been concerted efforts to welcome the broader community to come in and enjoy the surrounds.

I have a few choice words of my own having been there. Poignant. Charming. Serene. Do visit.

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Why? Beauty, nature and reflection
When: Every day. From 4/10/15 to 3/4/16 - 8.00am - 8.00pm (Daylight Savings).From 4/4/16 to 2/10/16 - 8.00am - 6.00pm (Normal Hours)
Phone: (03) 8558 8278
Where: Springvale Botanical Cemetery
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Thanks for the article Mariam. The gardens are magnificent. I've never taken the time to have a good look at them as I've only ever been there on sad occaisions. I should take the time.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9626) 2194 days ago
I have visited and it is a lovely and peaceful place. Great article!
by Here and There (score: 2|398) 2203 days ago
Beautiful,but a very sad place for me as my sons ashes are there.I take comfort in knowing it is a peaceful,restful place for him,I miss him so much.
by diane (score: 0|2) 127 days ago
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