Inside Look: Castlebrook Memorial Park

    CastlebrookMemorial Park is located in Western Sydney.  It is a relatively new place and there is actually little information about it.  Other than my personal experiences and opinions (which I describe below) it is unknown and un-described.

    Castlebrook  is InvoCare owned and operated.

An Issue:
    Normally I have pictures of the place, to 'illustrate' what it is like and give a better understanding of the place.  However it is difficult to get any pictures of Castlebrook.  The official website is difficult to navigate and somewhat pointless as it has so little information or real purpose.  Other than saying "we exist and this is how/when to contact us" it says nothing else.  Yes, there is other information such as "coping with grief" and "our services".  Yet these are at best basic at best.  The best thing about the website are the facts at the end of the "Cremation Explained" page.  This is disappointing considering it is InvoCare who are normally very organised and informative.  But it is actually a common issue with InvoCare crematorium websites.  They do not provide enough or relevant information and make it difficult to get to know them.

    Castlebrook is located on Windsor Road, Rouse Hill, NSW.  It is an odd (but common) location for a cemetery, right next to a major road.

Getting there:
    There is only one gate in and out of Castlebrook, which is on the East side of the grounds.  This gate is located on the intersection of White Hart Drv and Windsor Rd.  It is actually easy to get into as there is a set of traffic lights which let you turn right or left in and out of the gate.

    However, the lights do not last long for traffic to turn here, so only a few cars will make it through at a time.  One or two slow cars and even less will get through causing a line of traffic.  This is more of a problem trying to get out of the cemetery rather than when trying to get in.

Getting around Castlebrook:
    The cemetery is designed in an interesting way, it has a large round about just after you enter.  Each road leading off this round about leads to one place, with a turning circle at the end.  There are no links between these roads other than the round about.  This makes it easy and simple to navigate (in theory) but it means that to get from one place to the other you need to double back to the round about every time.

    While the idea is simple and efficient in theory it is actually confusing in practice.  Because of the slop of the grounds you cannot see exactly where the roads go until you are driving on them.  To make matters worse the exits at the round about are not labelled or signposted.  This is a serious and simple oversight that InvoCare really should fix.  One wrong turn and you are stuck at a dead end, unable to see which road leads where and without signs to help.  This cemetery is fine once you know it or if you have a map.  Without this it is trickier than it should be!

    Here is a breakdown of which exit to take to get where.  It should be noted that I have numbered the exits the same way a GPS would; in a clockwise direction from the entry point (which is the last or sixth exit).  Also all exits lead to different parts of the cemetery.

 - First exit:  This is a short road which leads to a small garden and statues and to a pond.

Second exit:  This is probably the 'main' road if one existed at Castlebrook.  It leads to the crematorium and office and the other main buildings at Castlebrook.

Third exit:  A small dead end road that was still under construction (or at least dirt and gravel) last time I was there.  It leads nowhere except to some of the cemetery.

Fourth exit:  This road goes to the vaults/crypts and the main active parts of the cemetery grounds.  The second exit and this one are the most likely exits a funeral will use.

Fifth exit:  A small dead end road that is under construction.

Sixth exit:  The exit and entrance to Castlebrook.  This is where you enter and where you go to get out.

    Knowing this should make Castlebrook very easy and simple to navigate.  It is a well designed and actually very efficient (a key objective of anything and everything InvoCare).  But due to the slop of the grounds and the lack of signs what should be easy becomes a bit confusing.

    Castlebrook has a few services and facilities on offer.  They have a crematorium, a funeral directors and other things within the grounds.  Yet one thing sorely missed is a cafe or function centre.

    It is not a large crematorium, in fact it is actually quite small.  It is a decent crematorium, with plenty of close parking, an ok design and easy to work out of.  However it is not the best in all honesty, too small for larger funerals (although perfect for smaller ones) and a bit old fashioned compared with others.  Other crematoriums such as Northern Suburbs or Macquarie Park offer function rooms close by and more services than Castlebrook.

    This is possibly the best part of Castlebrook, it is relatively flat, even, easy to access and well designed.  The roads generally have sloping gutters rather than square ones like on regular streets.  This makes it great to pull over and park or when carrying heavy things.

    The cemetery is also relatively flat, while it might be on a slop the slop is gentle and there are few if any holes or uneven spots.  The ground is also fairly solid, being a newer cemetery and with good drainage it means there are few soft or slippery spots where you will sink or lose your footing.

    Another great thing is that there is little mud here.  If there is mud it is sticky, much like at Rookwood.  However mud is uncommon here, the grass is in good order and the drainage is good.

    A big down side is the lack of trees.  Trees are a blessing for mourners and undertakers at the cemetery.  They offer shade in summer and protection from the wind and rain in winter.  Being out west and with no trees Castlebrook can be quite hot in summer.  To counter this the gravediggers set up large shade cloths, larger than at other cemeteries.  The undertakers should also have water and umbrellas to help.

    The final issue with the cemetery is the traffic.  Due to the design it has several choke points and with one or two mistakes queues of cars quickly form.  What happens is a car blocks an intersection at the main round about, either thinking they could make it or simply being inconsiderate.  This is common as people "panic" on funerals and will do silly things to stay close to the funeral cars.  Because they do this it means other cars trying to get out of that street or go around the round about are then stopped.

    I remember once on a funeral the gravediggers directed us to the wrong exit.  So the hearse had to drive down the small street then turn around.  Not a big issue, except in their zeal to keep up some mourners had entered the intersection at the end of the road and blocked it.  Then others seeing the hearse trying to get out were attempting to go around, further blocking everything.  It took a good 15mins or more to get the hearse and cortege out.

    This is one of the easiest cemeteries to find parking.  The roads have sloped gutters, one of the best things a cemetery can and should have.  These gutters make it easy to pull over and off the road, creating more space to park and leaving room to drive past.

Contact & Links:

Hours:  The gates are usually open everyday from sunrise to sunset.  The office is open 8:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays and 9:00am to 4:00pm on the weekend.

Phone: (02) 9629, 1477.
Fax: (02) 9629, 1799.

Contact details.

Castlebrook Memorial Park website.

Map - although it is just the googlemap.


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