Tours of Sydney are unlikely to have a cemetery on the list of must see locations.
Waverley Cemetery is one of those places that is overlooked by visitors to Sydney. We like it for two reasons. The first is its proximity to the Pacific Ocean - drop dead views!
The coastal walk way from Bondi to Coogee runs just below the eastern edge of the cemetery. A walk along this impressive scenic pathway offers the chance to make a detour into the cemetery.
The second reason we find it appealing relates to the history and attitudes that are captured in a cemetary. Many of Sydney’s well known people have been buried here and Waverley cemetery contains an expansive collection of death memorabilia, including sculptures, graves, vaults, mausoleums and memorials.
The cemetery opened in 1877 and an intact drinking trough for horses remains on the pavement near the cemetary entrance. There is a vast quantity of stonemasonry on display including sculptures of angels, neo classical symbols and tombstones.
The cemetery is well laid out and designed with many internal roads and retaining walls. Fatigued cortege members may choose to rest in a number of sandstone shelters interspersed throughout the grounds.
The stand out monument in Waverley Cemetery is the Martyr’s Monument which is dedicated to the 1798 uprising against British rule in Ireland. The remains of one of the leaders of the rebellion, Michael O’Dwyer and his wife, reside here.
The memorial includes a large Celtic cross and also commemorates the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Long Kesh Hunger Strikes in 1981.
It is estimated that around 100 000 people have taken up digs at the cemetery, ranging from poets (Henry Kendall and Henry Lawson) to well known business people, politicians and sporting stars.
A Sydney tour of Waverley Cemetery is easily accommodated in our Sydney Bespoke Tour. Get in touch and we can discuss.