As Sydney’s cemeteries became increasingly full in the 19th century, a macabre railway service began operation in 1867. Twice-daily funeral trains picked up coffins and mourners from Mortuary Station on Regent Street en-route to Rookwood Cemetery. The structure, complete with cherub and gargoyle sculptures, connected cemeteries from Sutherland to Newcastle.
While funeral trains stopped making the trip to Rookwood Cemetery in 1938, the heritage listed Mortuary Station is one of the most unique railway buildings in New South Wales. As part of Rookwood’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year, Mortuary Station will be open to the public across the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Visitors to the three day event will have the opportunity to admire the Venetian 13th century gothic architecture, and learn more about the largest and oldest cemetery in the southern hemisphere. Special guests will be talking about the history of Rookwood Cemetery and Mortuary Station, videos will be showing historical footage, and for those wanting to know more about family interred at Rookwood Cemetery, a digital research hub will be set up.
The station, within walking distance from Central Station, will be open from 10am to 3pm from 10-12 June as part of the Transport Heritage Expo. For more details, visit transportheritageexpo.com or rookwoodcemetery.com.au