An Inside Look: Woronora Cemetery & Crematorium

    Woronora is a cemetery and crematorium, the cemetery opened in 1895 and the crematorium opened in 1934.  It is a nice place with good staff.  While sometimes confusing to navigate it is actually fairly simple and one of the easiest cemeteries to find and navigate.

    It is run and owned by a trust.

    Something to note about Woronora is that they do not let learner drivers drive in the cemetery.  They are not very strickt about the no L plate law, but it is something you should keep in mind.

    Woronora Cemetery address is 121 Linden St, Sutherland NSW.  It is on the intersection of Linden St and Sutherland St.  It is in the Sutherland Shire area, only a short walk from Sutherland train station.

Getting there:
    This is one of the easiest cemeteries/crematoriums to find and get into.  As long as you end up on Linden St or Loftus Ave you cannot miss it.  The best way to get there if going South on the Princess Hwy when you reach the intersection of Acadia Rd continue straight at Old Princess Hwy/The Greand Pde.

    The entrance itself is located at the intersection of Linden St and Sutherland St, which is about halfway along Linden St.  It is easy to spot as long as you are watching the fence along the cemetery.  It is the only one where the gate is open.

Navigating it:
    The cemetery is confusing at first to get around, as are all cemeteries.  With lots of trees and bendy roads you cannot predict where you are going without a map or knowing the place.  It does however have a lot of signs, which are accurate and helpful.  There is a trick to navigating it:

    If going to the cemetery go straight.  Simply drive straight and it will take you right to the main office where you can get a map if needed.  The main office is in the middle of a large round about, the roads leading off this round about will take you to anywhere in the cemetery.

    If going to the crematorium go right at the first fork in the road.  The crematorium will be straight ahead.

    If you want to get out this can be the more difficult.  But simply find the fence then follow it.  The road around the cemetery is basically a circle which follows the whole border.  Furthermore there is only one gate in or out, so you know where you will come out of the cemetery.  So just follow the fence and you will find the way out!  

    There are a few facilities at Woronora, from a crematorium to a cafe.

    The crematorium was opened in 1934 and is very art deco, much like Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Crematorium.  It has two chapels (named after points on the compus), both quite different and both quite good.  One of the biggest issues with the crematorium is mourners find it difficult to work out which funeral is on where or when.  There is a large LED display screen with the information on the roadway entrance to the crematorium.  But people tend to drive past it and miss it. A small sign is also put on the door of each chapel.

Inside the West Chapel
    Both chapels have an exit to a nice courtyard out the back.  I do not know if they do functions or wakes here, but it would be a perfect place on a nice day.  Also both chapels can use overflow rooms, for if there are too many people of there are kids. These rooms are separate buildings from the chapels but have a TV screen to show what is happening inside.  They also have couches, a small coffee table and a fish tank.

    A big down side to the crematorium here is the catafalque.  In both chapels it is fixed in place, it cannot be moved at all.  The top turns in place so the coffin can be turned.  But it is just awkward to work with and a silly idea.  Clearly designed by someone who did not work as an undertaker.

West Chapel:
Inside the South Chapel
    This chapel seats 95 people and has a cover over the main door for cars and people, which is great in summer or winter.  One thing to note about this chapel is that the catafalque can be 'sticky' when it is turned.  Also the main entrance is a narrow doorway with a flight of stairs.  This makes carrying the coffin a bit tricky, especially with wide or heavy coffins.  The entrance is on the side of the chapel.

South Chapel:
    This chapel seats 95 people and has a cover over the main door for cars and people, which is great in summer or winter.  The main doorway for this chapel is a little wider than the West Chapel and does not have stairs, just a step.

    The cemetery is actually rather good here.  The ground is usually flat, solid and not too dirty.  Unless you park near the fence you will generally not have to walk in mud or on uneven or soft ground.  This makes it one of the safer and easier to walk or carry in.  There are monumental graves and crypts, but most graves are lawn graves.  Because of this most graves use mechanical lowering devices which does make it easy and safe.  However they often use the American style lowering machines, which can be awkward to use (especially if not set up right).  It is at Woronora that I saw one of these devices damage a coffin.

    There is always plenty of parking at Woronora, unless there are two large funerals at once.  The parking might be a short walk from where you need to go, but it is never too far.  The cemetery is in some ways harder to park than the crematorium.  This is because the roads are narrow, so people can get parked in if not careful.  The crematorium car park is a little walk from the crematorium, but it is not too far and it is a flat even walk.

Cafe & Condolence Room:
    The 'Forget Me Not Cottage' cafe at Woronora is actually rather nice.  Most cemeteries/crematoriums have good cafe's on site but people do not think of it.  Although this one is price I have heard good things about both the food and service.  It is located near the exit, just follow the road North along the cemetery fence and you will find it.

Main Office:
    The main office is located towards the centre of the cemetery, in the middle of a large roundabout.  The staff here are very helpful and will be happy to assist with anything cemetery related.  Such as finding the location of a specific grave, navigating the cemetery and so on.  However for crematorium related information or help go to the crematorium and speak to the concierge there.

    Woronora has several gardens scattered around the cemetery.  Many are located near the crematorium but there many others as well.

Useful Info & Links:

Information on the History of Woronora.

    Cemetery grounds are open everyday, weekends and holidays included.  The gates close at sunset each day.

    The office is open Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm; and Saturdays from 8:00am to 12noon.  It is closed on public holidays and Sundays.

Phone: (02) 9545 4677
Fax: (02) 9545 1010


Contact information.

Bus service information.


1 comment:

  1. My little brother Brian Robert Williams is buried there in an unmarked grave. He was three years old in 1936 when he was run over by a red truck when I (4 years old) and he were crossing the Princes Highway Kirrawee.
    I never recovered as I felt I was blamed for not looking after him when we were going across the road to buy some lollies. I am now 81 years old.
    My grandmother Lucy Williams (Pike) was cremated there and the ashes are in an alcove in the wall near the crematorium. She was nineteen stone when she died.
    Old grandfather Harry (Henry Inglis Williams) is also buried there. He was a tough old bugger but I loved him anyway. He was a descendant of William Nash who came here as a marine with the First Fleet 1788.
    I want to be buried in this cemetery because I was a baby in a bush camp just below the cemetery gates in 1933. We gotwater from the cemetery tap at the corner of Ist Ave Loftus. However I am in Vancouver Canada and will be interred far from home. Cedric hector (Ric) Williams.


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