By Belle Hann
Have you ever wondered about that cemetery on Geelong Road? Located on a busy highway populated with car dealerships, it would seem an unlikely location to “rest in peace.” I was curious (perhaps morbidly so) and decided to find out more.
Footscray General Cemetery holds more than 19,000 graves, representing several generations of Melburnians. As evident through the multilingual gravestones, many folks entombed here had arrived in Australia from across the world with strong representations from Greece and Italy. It is also the resting place for some “early pioneers” of the inner west region.
“The main feature of the cemetery is its history,” says Brendan Koch, Regional Manager for the Western Region of the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust. “It’s a really old site with some graves dating back to the 1860s.”
Brendan also points out that the cemetery offers a quiet, green space in the bustling inner west. It’s true that there’s a certain eerie calm to be found walking through the cemetery, despite the traffic noise and industrial setting.
However, no such luck if you’d like to be laid to rest here one day. There’s no new burials taking place as the cemetery is considered a “closed site.” Only secondary interments are conducted, meaning that a person is buried with another person in a pre-purchased plot, such as a married couple or family grave. The cemetery performs about fifty of these types of burials a year.
Footscray General Cemetery is open 7:00am – 5:30pm seven days a week, and 7: 00am – 7:30pm during daylight savings. Learn more about gmct.com.au/our-locations/footscray-cemetery
Note – lockdown restrictions apply. If attending a funeral (limit of 10) or visiting a site (limit of two), you must wear a mask and maintain social distancing at all times.