Restoring Prized Monuments for Future Generations

The launch of the Historical Refurbishment and Restoration Fund held at Melbourne General Cemetery on Tuesday 8 March 2016 was well attended with speeches given by Former Premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett, Barry Owen Jones AO and Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust CEO, Jane Grover.

Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund - Launch March Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund - Launch March Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund - Launch March Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund - Launch March HRRF 16 - _0004_Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund - Launch March Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund - Launch March Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund - Launch March Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund - Launch March

Fellow Custodians of History

The Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) is a forward thinking not-for-profit organisation that takes its role as custodian of history very seriously.

Within a number of our iconic and historically significant cemetery locations there are many prized monuments, both grand and humble, that have fallen into disrepair. These monuments honour the lives of extraordinary individuals who have shaped the course of Victoria's history and deserve to be restored for all time.

The establishment of SMCT's Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund will now make this possible.

Our aim is to raise the necessary funds to grow this great initiative and ensure that significant monuments are preserved for all Victorians. 

Why a Restoration Fund is Needed

Traditionally, the 'Holder of the Right of Interment', (the term used for the ‘owner’ of a location), is responsible for the maintenance of graves and the monuments placed upon them. However, as years pass, many people do not have the financial means or interest to restore historic monuments. In many cases, there are no longer any Next of Kin still living.

SMCT is delighted that the Victorian Government has given permission to proceed with vital restoration work through the establishment of our Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund. We are able to grow this groundbreaking initiative through the proceeds of SMCT cemetery tours, public donations, fundraising efforts, grants, sponsorships and partnerships with like-minded organisations.

How Monuments are Selected for Restoration

A panel of heritage experts assists SMCT in the selection of monuments to be restored. Criteria for selection includes historical or heritage significance, community interest and engagement, and tourism appeal.

A priority list of monuments has been approved, including the exquisite memorial to Governor, Sir Charles Hotham at Melbourne General Cemetery and the striking family vault of eminent Victorian, Septimus Miller at Brighton General Cemetery.

The first project to be financed from the Fund is the Clarke family monuments at Melbourne General Cemetery. These include the grave of the eminent couple Sir William Clarke and Lady Janet Clarke, (which is included in the Victorian Heritage Register), and the adjacent graves of two humble workers who died on Sir William’s Donnybrook estate.

Clarkes - Graves and Humble Workers 2
Sir William Clarke, Clarke family monument, adjacent graves of two humble workers and Lady Janet Clarke

Melbourne General Cemetery

A number of restoration projects will take place within Melbourne General Cemetery, which is widely recognised as one of Australia's most historically significant cemeteries. Opened in 1853, Melbourne General Cemetery was the first modern cemetery in Victoria, designed and built like a large public park. Melbourne General Cemetery’s heritage significance is reflected in the high number of notable interments, fine monuments and historic buildings.

How You Can Contribute to this Vital Restoration Fund

SMCT would value your contribution to this important historical initiative by way of donation, sponsorship and/or partnership.

Together we can move towards restoring the past for the benefit of all Victorians, both now and in the future.

For more information please call SMCT's Historian and Manager of Cultural Heritage
Dr Celestina Sagazio on (03) 8558 8210 or email celestina.sagazio@smct.org.au.