• Date: 01/09/2017
  • Cemetery: Keilor Cemetery

Keilor Cemetery extension was officially opened this week at a special event featuring speeches, multilingual poetry readings and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.

GMCT welcomed the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, trust members, councillors, religious leaders, volunteers and community members to mark the occasion at the new section of the cemetery. 

Addressing the crowd, trust chair Geoff Mabbett said GMCT was pleased to provide a cemetery closely aligned with the evolving needs and expectations of the area’s diverse community. 

 “In doing so, we continue a centuries old tradition of creating a special place where individuals, families, and the wider community – across generations – can reflect, honour and remember those who have gone before us,” he said.  

From left: Poet Lisa Gorton, GMCT trust chair Geoff Mabbett, trust member Liz Beattie, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Gabrielle Williams MP,  trust member Dana Hlavacek, CEO Jacqui Weatherill and trust member Kim McAliney. 

GMCT was particularly honoured to be joined at the event by members of the community who had recently laid a loved one to rest in the new section of the cemetery.  Geoff Mabbett led a moment of reflection during official proceedings to pay tribute to them and their families.

Gabrielle Williams, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, led the unveiling of the plaque. She said the cemetery extension was thoughtfully designed, with a comforting atmosphere for families.

“It provides a reflective space for family members and friends to celebrate and reflect on the lives of their loved ones,” she said.

“Extension plans were carefully developed for over two years, demonstrating the trust’s foresight into community needs and expectations for the new space.”

Trust chair Geoff Mabbett and Parliamentary Secretary for Health Gabrielle Williams MP unveiled the plaque.  

The Keilor Cemetery extension is a major 3.7 hectare expansion of Keilor Cemetery north of Ely Court in Keilor East.  Established in 1856, Keilor Cemetery has been a significant landmark in the local landscape and an important and sacred place for the community. The extension will provide over 5000 new graves where there is strong local demand.

Commemorative poem

 

To mark the opening of the cemetery, GMCT commissioned a poem, ‘Keilor Cemetery’ by Lisa Gorton. Lisa is an esteemed poet, essayist and fiction writer and winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award.

At the opening event, Lisa’s poem was presented to our community in Greek, Italian, English and Maltese. Plaques with translations of the piece will also be placed within the cemetery.

 

Keilor Cemetery

Earth now keep what they had of you

in the dominion of their hours

whose times are to be measured now

in epochs of cloud—quick shadows

brightening and the small rain, its

green smell like the cry of a bird—rosellas

flit into the spotted gum—the wind is

speaking its single instant perpetually

in the mouths of the grass—as speargrass,

its pale seedheads shaking out light, moves

in the shape of a catching fire over the ash

of cold fires deep in clay beside the river—

They all alike have stepped an infinite way

out of the history of their landscape who now

are neighbours in their names and inherit here

its separate peace—It is the garden of a city

and keeps, close by the motorway, a perfect quiet

which people come to, and remember—

Lisa Gorton