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Rookwood Tour for National Archaeology Week – 28 May 2023

28 May 2023 @ 10:30 am - 1:30 pm AEST

Join the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology (ASHA) on a free walking tour of Rookwood Necropolis led by Archaeologist, Dr Siobhan Lavelle OAM, on 28 May 2023 as part of National Archaeology Week (NAW) 2023.

If you attended the NAW 2022 Rookwood tour, please feel free to come again, as we will be touring a different, and equally exciting, section of the cemetery in 2023.


Rookwood Cemetery, or to use its formal name, the Necropolis (City of the Dead), forms its own suburb occupying almost three-square kilometres between Strathfield and Lidcombe in Sydney’s inner west. Recognised amongst the largest burial grounds in the world, Rookwood Necropolis is a place of outstanding cultural and environmental heritage significance.

Established in 1867, Rookwood was originally seven separate cemeteries, each with their own Trustees. Most incorporated elaborate ornamental plantations with formal planting along roads and avenues. Rookwood remained in use through the allocation of additional area, and now comprises some 286 hectares (700 acres).

The tour will visit several of the ‘No.1 Cemeteries’ in the oldest area. The route will visit sections that were not inspected on a prior ASHA tour completed in 2022. Highlights will include: the Serpentine Drain and the ‘Elephant House’ in the Anglican Section, and areas where recently discovered burials from the former Devonshire Cemetery have been reinterred. Graves of prominent Sydneysiders in the nineteenth century will also be visited, such as the Dixson Family, David Jones and John Fairfax families. Twentieth-century graves will include two ‘Queens of the Gypsies’ from the Sterio Family, and the Sydney identity, Bee Miles.

Tour Leader

The tour will be led by Dr Siobhan Lavelle OAM. Siobhan has particular interest and expertise in cemetery conservation. Siobhan was a Trustee and Board Member at Rookwood in the 1990s and 2000s, finishing her last term in 2012.


Date Sunday 28 May 2022

Time 10:30am – ~1:30pm (2-3 hours)

What to bring A picnic lunch, water, sun and rain protection, and good sturdy walking shoes.

Where to meet At the Jewish Martyrs Memorial on Necropolis Circuit (see Map following).

How to get there

1) Drive: You can drive and park in Rookwood. There are signs throughout the cemetery directing you to the Martyrs’ Memorial.

2) Train: You can catch a train to Lidcombe station and walk from the station to the start point. There is a pedestrian gate on East Street if unlocked, it is a more direct route than the vehicle gate. It might take about 15-20mins to walk from the station.

3) Bus: You can catch a bus (408) from Strathfield Train Station Stand H. It is located on the South side of the station (The Plaza side). Buses leave at 5 to the hour it should take about 25-30mins to get there. You should reach the closest stop to the memorial, which is for St Michael the Archangel Chapel, on the north side of Necropolis Circuit.

Contact Information

Please contact the ASHA Events Coordinator on [email protected] if you have any questions or if you need to make any changes to your ticket registration(s).

Register via Eventbrite here:


A photograph of the Jewish Martyr’s Memorial on Necropolis Circuit, where we will be meeting.
Map of Rookwood Necropolis showing the meeting location.
A map of Rookwood Necropolis, showing the location of the Jewish Martyr’s Memorial on Necropolis Circuit, where we will be meeting.


Siobhan Lavelle
ASHA Events Coordinator
National Archaeology Week


Jewish Holocaust Memorial (Martyrs Memorial)
Necropolis Circuit
Rookwood, NSW 2141 Australia
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