Burwood Cemetery is considered one of the oldest cemeteries in Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, Australia. Situated 14 kilometres east of the Melbourne centre, Burwood Cemetery dates back to 1857, a time of high demand for land due to the influx of people from the Victorian Gold Rush. The cemetery and the police station were central to the Ballyshanassy settlement area, which was later renamed as Norwood and then again as Burwood in 1879.

The cemetery cascades down two slopes to meet in a valley and is noticeable from the main roads of Burwood Highway and Highbury Road due to the picturesque structures, monuments and sculptures set in established gardens. It reached capacity in the 1980s and burials are now limited to existing plots, although the columbarium is still available for new placements.

Burwood Cemetery has many interesting examples of sculptures, monuments and ironwork, and is the last resting place of many people with fascinating stories which can be found in records, or remain to be written.

Notable inhabitants, whose stories will be explored in later posts, include:

  • Sir Charles Powers (1853-1939), politician and high court judge.
  • Frank Cumbrae-Stewart (1865-1938), professor and barrister
  • Zina Cumbrae-Stewart (nee Hammond) (1868-1956), Frank Cumbrae-Stewart’s wife, a notable philanthropist and champion of women’s contributions to society.
  • Harold Edward Elliot (1878-1931), major general in the Australian Army and later politician.
  • Francis William (F.W.) Thring (1883-1936), film director, producer and exhibitor.
  • John S. Clark (1885-1956), entomologist and myrmecologist in the study of Australian ants.
  • Christina Cock (1887-2002), Australia and Oceania’s oldest person, who lived for 114 years.
  • Edward William (Bill) Tipping (1915-1970), activist, journalist and social commentator.