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Rookwood Necropolis entrance.
Year established 1868
Location Sydney, New South Wales
Size 286 hectares
Number of interments 1 million
Website rookwoodindependent.com.au (Independent); catholiccemeteries.org.au (Catholic); rookwoodcrem.com.au (Crematorium); rookwoodcemetery.com.au (Anglican)
Celtic cross, Rookwood
Rookwood Cemetery (officially named Rookwood Necropolis) is the largest necropolis in the Southern Hemisphere, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Rookwood is a suburb, close to Lidcombe railway station about 17 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district.
Rookwood Cemetery is divided into denominational and operational areas with individual offices, staff, and equipment to run different parts of the entire area. The cemetery is now managed by five denominational Trusts, each of which is responsible for the care and maintenance of a number of burial sections catering to various ethnic and cultural groups within the community. The following individual Trusts manage the cemetery on behalf of the NSW State Government: Anglican & General Cemetery Trusts, the Catholic Cemeteries Board, The Independent Cemetery Trust, Jewish Cemetery, Muslim Cemetery Trust, and, importantly, The NSW Cremation Company, which founded and operates The Rookwood Crematorium, the oldest operating crematorium in the country. The NSW Cremation Company is the only private company operating a 'cemetery' section within the necropolis grounds, today the company is part of the Invocare company. Rookwood also contains a number of memorial shrines including those dedicated to victims of the Holocaust and to members of the merchant marine killed in wartime. The Sydney War Cemetery is located in the eastern section of the necropolis. The Circle of Love is a shrine dedicated to stillborn children or those who died in young infancy.
It is estimated that about one million people have been buried at Rookwood, which covers an area of 286 hectares. The "Friends of Rookwood Inc" is a voluntary organisation dedicated to preserving the site. As the largest Victorian era cemetery still in operation in the world, Rookwood is of significant national and historical importance.
Some older sections of Rookwood are overgrown with a riot of plants, early horticultural plants, some now large trees or groves, as well as an interesting array of remnant indigenous flora. This results in quite an eclectic mix of flora to be found within the necropolis.
The Serpentine Canal within the Anglican section was restored in recent years, repairing and replacing ornamentation, landscaping and vegetation over 31 hectares of the cemetery.