The Waverley Cemetery story really begins in 1859 when the “Municipality of Waverley” was inaugerated. This isolated outpost of the mercantile centre of Sydney grew quickly to and attracted industry and manufacturing like soap and candle making, shoe making, dairy and even emu farms!
An actual cemetery was officially discussed in 1863 and with inspiration drawn from the reform movements occurring in London and Paris and through the USA at the time a self funding Necropolis was settled upon to provide for the future. In 1868 Waverley Council agreed to manage this new enterprise so long as it incurred no cost in doing so.
The first purchase of land to start the cemetery took place in 1875, design and styling of the landscape took place including important drainage, roads, fencing drawing on the popular “Garden-esque” movement. The first part of the cemetery was officially finished and opened on the 1 August 1877. The first interment took place in the afternoon of 4 August 1877. And since that time more than 83,000 interments have taken place in 50,000 gravesites and memorials over 16 hectares.
The operation of the cemetery has meant that we have amassed a significant collection of high quality memorials and monuments and is the resting place of many influential and significant men and women who helped develop Sydney NSW and Australia in the international stage.
It has recently been announced that Wavelrey Cemetery will be listed on the State Heritage Register.
We are also protected with a listing as an item of heritage significance in the Waverley Local Environmental Plan (LEP), the State Heritage Inventory, and the Register of the National Estate and by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).
The notable people who have been laid to rest in Waverley Cemetery are also a large part of the site's history and significance. They include:
Albert Family - Music publishers and builders of the ‘Boomerang’ mansion in Sydney.
Arthur Tauchert - Star of the silent movie classic ‘The Sentimental Bloke’.
Charles Kinsela family - Taylor Square Funeral Directors.
Dorothea Mackellar - Poet.
Edmund Resch - Beer brewer.
Eliza Winstanley - Australia’s 1st leading lady of the stage.
George & Charlotte Sargent - Meat pie bakers.
Maj George Johnston - ‘Rum’ Corp soldier & Pioneer.
Harold Hardwick - champion swimmer & boxer.
Harry Rickards - Tivoli Theatre owner.
Henry Kendall - Poet.
Henry Lawson - Writer & poet.
Jules Francois Archibald - founder and editor of The Bulletin newspaper, public benefactor & provider of the annual portrait prize in his name.
John Fingleton OBE - Australian Cricketer & ‘Bodyline’ veteran.
John Sands - Greeting card manufacturer & stationer.
Laurence Foley - Boxer.
Lawrence Hargrave - Aviator and inventor.
Louis Beck - Author.
Oscar Eliason - ‘Dante the Great’ (magician & conjurer).
“Queenie” Paul - Vaudevillian actor.
Roderick Quinn - Poet & writer.
Sir (Arthur) Roden Cutler V.C- Former Governor of NSW.
Sarah (Fanny) Durack - Olympic gold medal swimmer.
Sir Francis Forbes - 1st Chief Justice of NSW.
Sir James Dowling - Judge & Chief Justice of NSW.
Sir James Martin - Judge, politician & Chief Justice NSW.
Thomas Dixon - Funeral Director.
Thomas Fisher - University library benefactor.
Victor Daly - Poet.
Victor Trumper - Test Cricketer.
Walter Carter - Funeral Director & local politician.
William Dymock - Book seller.
History of South Head Cemetery
South Head Cemetery, located on Old South Head Road in Vaucluse, opened around 1845 and had its first interment in 1869.
In the early 1940s, the management of South Head Cemetery passed from a private trust to Waverley Council who owned and operated Waverley Cemetery.
Today, the cemetery has over 6,000 gravesites and memorials in 4 acres and is operated in conjunction with Waverley Cemetery.
Some of the notable people who have been laid to rest in South Head Cemetery include:
Sir Edmund Barton - Australia's first Prime Minister
Sir John Robertson - former Premier of New South Wales
Members of the Packer family, including Robert Clyde Packer and Frank Packer - newspaper proprietors
Members of the Fairfax family - newspaper proprietors
Members of the Norton family, including John Norton and Ezra Norton - newspaper proprietors
Frank Clune - author
Sir Walter Edward Davidson - Governor of New South Wales
Roy Redgrave - founder of the Redgrave acting dynasty
John Charles Wright - former Archbishop of Sydney
Sir Richard Watkins Richards - former Lord Mayor of Sydney
Howard Joseland - architect