The Springvale Cemetery hopes its history and gardens will attract more than the bereaved.
According to Denise Gadd in The Age of February 15,2012 THE first legal cremation in Victoria was a rudimentary affair. It was held at Springvale Botanical Cemetery in 1905 when the body of Edward Davies, a retired customs officer, was laid on a pile of wood, doused with kerosene and then set alight. The service was presided over by a Church of England priest.
A rock in the cemetery (called the Necropolis, meaning ''the city of the dead'', until 2006) marks the site of his cremation, which was made possible in 1903 after the state government of the day passed the Cremation Act.
Davies' remains were interred near the grave of seven-month-old Clarence Reardon, who died of whooping cough and whose burial was the first at Springvale on March 20, 1902, a year after the cemetery was laid out in the shape of the Union Jack in a show of patriotism for Federation and the death that year of Queen Victoria.
Springvale was the only Victorian cemetery to have a dedicated railway line and station that was used to transport coffins, passengers and staff from Melbourne to the cemetery. Mortuary and visitors' trains were a regular sight from 1904 but the line was closed in 1951. A rock with a commemorative plaque marks the site.
I spent most of my life pushing a pen under fluorescent lights, inhaling stale office air and listen to the clatter of typewriters and ringing of phones.
My last seventeen years of working life were exchanged for a spade and lawnmower, the scent of roses, the sight and sounds of birds and ever changing skies at this local cemetery.
Have been back many times to visit my mother, step-father, family and friends, but this time I took my camera to show a glimpse of the beauty of our local cemetery.
In case you will recognize a grave and don't want to see it published,
just leave a message in my guest book and I will delete the picture.
© Bernard Bosmans Photography