An Inside Look: Macquarie Park Cemetery & Crematorium

Birds eye view of Macquarie Park.
The entrance is via the road on the right.
    This is perhaps one of the best cemeteries and crematoriums in Sydney and certainly my favourite.  One of the best things about this place is that at the crematorium a concierge is provided for free.  Overall the staff, facilities and location are all very good.

    A common mistake many make is they confuse Macquarie Park with Northern Suburbs.  This is a major issue as many take a while to realise and are late for the service.  It may appear a silly mistake but it's quite understandable.  Both are located only 5-10mins drive from each other and they even shared the same name until recently.  Macquarie Park was called 'Northern Suburbs Cemetery' as it did not have a crematorium and Northern Suburbs Crematorium did not have a cemetery.  But then Macquarie Park built a crematorium and a name change was needed.  If you do make the mistake then do not panic, they're only 10mins appart and on the same road (Delhi Rd).

    Another thing to note is that Macquarie Park is not owned by InvoCare or any councils, it is an 'independent' organisation.


    Macquarie Park Cemetery & Crematorium is in a lovely area, surrounded on one side by a bushy valley and far enough from the freeway (which is on the other side) that you would never even know it was there.

Macquarie Park directions and maps.

Getting There & Getting Around:

Pond on the right of the gate as you enter.
    If going by train or bus you want North Ryde Station, NOT Macquarie Park Station.  This is a common mistake as despite the name Macquarie Park cemetery & crematorium is not near Macquarie Park station at all.

    Another issue many face is when driving they cannot put an address into the GPS as the place has no actual address.  Instead put in Plassey Rd, Macquarie Park.

Driving there:

    When driving if you are going North on the M2 freeway do not miss the turn off after the Lane Cove tunnel.  If you miss this exit it is about 9km or 15-20mins each way to the next exit.  To avoid this keep in the left lane through the Lance Cove tunnel and exit left shortly after the tunnel ends.  After exiting the M2 you will need to do a right into Delhi Rd, so keep to the right lane.  Stay in the right lane when turning right as it will make merging ahead easier.  If you are going South on the M2 and miss the turn into Delhi Rd do not panic.  There is a small side street ahead on the left, go up this and follow the road straight into Plassey Rd.  But this turn off is small and easy to miss, so keep an eye out and only use it as a last resort.

    The main gate is located on Plassey Rd, just off Delhi Rd, this is actually the only gate which you can drive through, the rest are pedestrian access only.  You are able to turn both left or right onto Plassey Rd with the aid of traffic lights.  This gate is on the left as you drive up Plassey Rd and almost impossible to miss due to the large sign.

    The crematorium is perhaps the easiest place to get to and yet once there many mourners or taxies go the wrong way.  Firstly, to get to the crematorium enter Macquarie Park then turn right into the first driveway.  That's it, you're there!  It's only bout 10-20 meters from the min gate and hard to miss (although not well signposted).  Once there many people continue straight and go into the car park, yet some will turn left and go into the funeral car lane (which is sign posted)  This lane is narrow, one-way only and has tight corners, this means the car could end up blocking another funeral.  Usually people do this when trying to drop someone off as close to the chapel as possible.  However this is unnecessary and disruptive as there is a free shuttle service offered by Macquarie Park if you ask at the main office and there is lots of disability parking nearby.

    Getting to the function rooms and main office is very easy and simple, follow the road as you enter.  Pass the crematorium car park and here you have two options depending on who you are and what you want.  Most people should park in the next car park on the right and walk the very short distance to the office/function rooms.  The next option is to follow the road past this car park, turn right at the intersection, turn right again and continue straight for a little bit.  You will see another car park and the function rooms on the right.  Another thing is that there will be a green line painted on the road from the main gate to the office, so you can just follow this.  This other option will let you park closer but it may be parked out or reserved for funeral cars, so it is not always viable or appropriate.

    If entering as a funeral cortege you will be going to the main office before continuing to the grave.  Sometimes people get out when the cortege stops at the office but they shouldn't.  I will explain in detail elsewhere but stay in the car until the grave.  For now to get to the office follow the green line on the road as you enter, turning right at the first and second intersection.

    Navigating the cemetery itself can be tricky, although it is well signposted it is full of twisty streets and few obvious land marks.  So unless you know the place grab a free map from the main office.

Macquarie Park directions and maps.


    The most notable and unique thing about Macquarie Park is the crematorium which was opened in late 2004.  With three large chapels (named Palm, Camellia and Magnolia), large and close car park and very modern design it is bigger and better than many other crematoriums.  All three chapels are exactly the same in almost every way.  The entrance is covered by a large awning and glass doors at the entrance.  As you enter there is a "crying room" to the right, which is sealed off yet has a window into the chapel.  This room is often used for viewing or as a change room.  Also on the left as you enter is the concierge room where the concierge will sit and monitor the service.  The floors are white tiled and the walls are a creme, there is a glass wall with doors on the left which leads to a courtyard and garden.  This area can be used as 'over flow' if the chapel is full.  Naturally there are toilets near every chapel.  Another notable and wonderful thing is the catafalque, it is completely mobile, silent and looks decent.  So you can wheel it out of the chapel and right to the hearse.  This makes handeling of heavy bodies very easy.

    Each chapel can seat about 200 people and through use of the overflow areas can easily accomodate over 300.

    There are three function rooms (or reception center), each of varying size.  All lead out to a nice courtyard with seating if people prefer to sit outside or just need the extra room.  Just next to the rooms are several toilets and a playground.  This playground is perhaps the best thing about the function rooms as despite it being basic it is quite nice, new, fenced in and within sight of the rooms.  No other function centers offer a a playground like this.  Another handy thing is that there is plenty of parking nearby and the it is within a short walking distance of the crematorium.  So it's quite convenient.

    Most large cemeteries have a cafe nearby, the one at Macquarie Park makes a nice coffee and sandwiches and has good staff.  However it is a little costly.  It also sells a few flowers.

Macquarie Park Facilities.


Memorial Hill; the new section of the cemetery.
Opened in 2011.
    The best thing about the crematorium at Macquarie Park is that they provide a free concierge to assist the funeral.  This concierge will run all the Audio Visual equipment (playing videos, playing music, recording the service, etc) and help out if needed, such as carrying the coffin.  No other crematorium currently provides a staff member like this let alone for free.

    Macquarie Park also provides a free shuttle service for those less mobile or when traveling a long distance.  They have a couple of special shuttle cars, much like large golf buggies which will come and pick up the person.  To get this service just ask the concierge at the crematorium, the grave digger at the grave or the staff in the main office.  It can take them a few minutes to get the shuttle and collect the person, so just wait patiently as they are on their way even if it appears to take a while.

    The grave diggers are Macquarie Park staff so unlike council diggers they can actively help at the graveside.  Often they will carry the coffin or help lower it, so if you are short of staff or able bodies do not worry.

    Catering can be provided for the function rooms, the details of which can be arranged while organising the funeral.

    The office is happy and able to help with most requests or issues.  They can find the location of a grave (if you give them the right information) and can help with navigating the cemetery.

    Mourners are not allowed to see the body be cremated at Macquarie Park and there are no exceptions.  The cremation area is a work zone and like any other work place there are OH&S issues and insurance concerns.  I have been in the back area and there are machines and people moving about making it impractical and unsafe to let people wonder through.  Thus no matter how much people ask they will never see a body being cremated at this facility.  But having been in the back areas I can honestly say everything is decent and there's nothing to hide.  The place is clean, organised, professional and very respectful and the staff are the same.

Behind the Scenes:

    All the staff here are nice and helpful people, great to interact with as a mourner or funeral director.  I have never seen or heard of a bad experience with the staff here.  However the system at Macquarie Park is strange with regards to its staff.  If a worker puts in their resignation they are walked off the premises within a few hours.  I remember when a senior and respected staff member put in their resignation.  They had been at Macquarie Park for many years and were very well liked.  So it surprised and shocked people to see them walked off by security.  It created a very uneasy atmosphere with the staff for several weeks as the wondered if the person and done something wrong, and how despite working there for years they could just be escorted off as a criminal.  The other strange thing is how difficult it is for staff to advance or be promoted.  It is very difficult if not impossible to go from a digger to a concierge.  Despite all this everyone I talked with did enjoy working here, it was a decent atmosphere with good pay and good people.

    The operations behind the scenes is very efficient and professional.  They do a good job in front of mourner and away from mourners.  However here lies my criticism of the place.  I remember and incident where one of our crews took a coffin over to the crematorium, it was a no service no attendance (NSNA).  In other words nobody was going to attend and nothing was to be done other than load up the coffin.  When the hearse arrived there was already a service in the chapel.  The undertakers asked the concierge what was going on and they told the crew to take the body around the back.  Procedure for many funeral homes is that on a NSNA they take the body in a van (not a hearse) around the back of the crematorium and straight into the processing room.  Despite the fact that the deceased has paid for a funeral, as in a hearse and to go through the chapel.  This caused some issue as WNBull "never goes through the back" like that.  Normally Macquarie Park is quite willing to let a NSNA go through the front but this was a busy day and they had chosen to send the coffin around the back.  After a long stand off the crew eventually took the body through the back.  But the point is Macquarie Park is quite willing to downgrade the priority of a NSNA in favour or getting more funerals through.  Which is in many ways wrong, people should get what they pay for.

    Overall Macquarie Park is one of the best cemeteries or crematoriums and around Sydney.  From the staff to the facilities, everything is efficient and to a high standard yet not distant from people.  Everyone here is approachable and generally a pleasure to work with.  I remember one nice concierge showing me her recent holiday photos while we waited for the family to arrive.  The people and the system here are very personal and approachable.

    Macquarie Park is also a wonderful model for modernity, particularly the crematorium.  They spent millions to refurbish it and did a great job.  The aim was to make it efficient and practical and it most certainly is.  All three chapels are identical, from size and style to the location of everything within.  If you know one chapel you know them all.  Everything about the place is so controlled, predictable and organised, nothing is left to chance.  Many may look to McDonalds or Disney to examine modernity but they should really go to the crematorium at Macquarie Park!

Essential Details and Links:

Hours: The office and main gate is open 6am to 7pm weekdays and 9am to 4pm weekends.

Office Number: 1300, 389, 888.

Macquarie Park official website.

Macquarie Park Facilities.

Macquarie Park directions and maps.


1 comment:

  1. My recent dealings with Macquarie Cemeteries included attempts at bullying and intimidation and I wondered if they treated their staff the same as their business associates.


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