For many years I had passed Rookwood Cemetery, viewing it from the train as I travelled to and from work.
I never had the opportunity to go there. I had no reason to know I could visit relatives there.
Then I found one, years ago - a great great Aunt and her husband....but I had moved away and my friend went and took photos for me.
However, in the last 2 years I found that my maternal Great Great Grandparents were buried there and after making the decision that whilst visiting friends this school holidays we (my girls and I) would go on the hunt...and adventure - when mentioned the 14yo and 6yo were not really keen, even when I tried to explain that the cemetery was as big as the major city we live near!
Mentioning this to my parents about a week ago, my father reminded me that my Great Grandparents were in the Cremation area of Rookwood. (I actually do not know that I even knew that to be honest) - This was fantastic news as now the visit to Rookwood, the awe inspiring cemetery, that was once a suburb with my Great Great Uncle as its first Mayor was going to be more exciting (well for me anyway).
I did my prep. work and called the office to find grave numbers, as the search engine on the website is currently down. The burial office were extremely helpful, however the cremation office were unable to help as the computers had 'frozen' so just told me to pop in.
Today arrived, we rugged up, ensured we wore comfortable sensible shoes and headed off. We began at the Anglican Burial Information Office as even with the grave numbers.....it would be like finding a needle in a haystack. They narrow the information down to rows and give you a printed map to show you the grave.
Off we headed.....to find grave number one my great great grandmother......we found her but even the 14yo was a bit saddened....no grave work instead pavers and a rock stuck on top and then a brass plague that detailed her tree. On the up side we knew we were at the right place, however AND LET THIS BE A WARNING it tended to indicate that her husband was here too.....HE does not lie with his wife in the Anglican Section, but quite a bit away in the Independent section. This is where we headed next.....I was really gratefully for the office mud map, as it told me the names of burial sites around my Great Great Grandfather....we found the site of the man next to him, and a mown lawn where he would be. We cleared it and in doing so found that there had been some concrete there at some stage...
Two down.....4 to go.....
The next 2 were not too hard to find once bearings of location were gained and as they were years ago when my friend took the photos they have not weathered too badly (although some restoration work would be good).
Now off to the crematorium....for those who are planning to go to Rookwood...note there is a Catholic Crematorium Office and then another Crematorium Office for everyone else.
They had to look up handwritten records to find where my Great Grandparents were in the wall, but the fact I had the date of death meant the wait was less than 10mins. We headed off to find them and the 14yo commented on how nice it was, when questioned whether she meant the current area or all of Rookwood, she said all of Rookwood. The trees, birds and quietness of it really appealed to her. It is here I will let you know she is now happy to return with me to do some cleaning up of the grave sites (hope yet I may pass the genie gene on) We found my Great Greats side by side and the plagues are in good condition.
It was a nice trip (the 6yo may differ, but did not mind the traipsing through the graves at the time).
If you do not have a relative in Rookwood Cemetery, go there anyway, leave a bit of time. It is an interesting place that is home to 1000's of past residents of our country and they date back to the 1800's.
I am looking forward to the return trip and ensuring my ancestors are named and can be found in the future.
Rookwood Cemetery Website