Extraordinary lives part 1

This Discover Cemeteries tour explores the history and heritage of Fawkner Memorial Park.

Take this tour to learn about the history of the park and hear tales of Melbourne’s Jewish Pioneers, sporting stars, immigrants and war heroes.

Tour details

Know before you go:

  • Distance: 2km

  • Time to walk: 1 hour

  • Time to drive: 45 minutes

Stay safe

Fawkner Memorial Park is large, crisscrossed by roads and creeks and covers different types of terrain. Older areas of the cemetery may have uneven ground or can be boggy after rain.

Watch your step in all areas of the cemetery and:

  • avoid cars when walking on or near roads

  • wear good walking shoes.

Story points in this tour

Start this tour at the park’s Historic Tea Rooms, near the main entrance via Sydney Road or Fawkner train station. (This is also a great place for a coffee and a snack when you’ve finished the tour.)

This tour contains stories on the following people and points of interest:

1. Mortuary train

Learn about Fawkner’s early days as a railway cemetery and funeral traditions in Melbourne in the early 20th century.

2. Jewish Pioneers

Jewish people were some of the first Europeans to settle in Melbourne. Learn about the traditions and practices they brought with them.

3. Jewish Chapel

The heritage-listed Jewish Chapel at Fawkner has been used by Melbourne’s Jewish community since it was built in 1919. Learn about ancient Jewish burial rites and practices.

4. Sundar Abdullah

Learn about Sundar Abdullah and the lives of the hawkers who travelled around rural Victoria supporting homesteads and selling their wares.

5. Dorothy Knapp

Dorothy Knapp was a girl who died tragically young in the 1900s. She was also Fawkner Memorial Park’s first burial. Learn about the history of the cemetery and see what it was like to attend the burial.

6. Kathleen Best

Meet a war hero and trailblazer of the Australian Women’s Army Corp. Royal Red Cross Holder and OBE, Kathleen Best.

7. John Coleman

An Aussie football legend and namesake of the Coleman medal for the AFL’s leading goalkicker. Meet the footballer, coach and man.

Unmarked graves

One of the graves in this tour is ‘unmarked’. This means that there is no headstone or monument on this grave.

There are many reasons why a grave may be unmarked. This could be because of cultural practices or because the right of interment holder chose, for some reason, to leave the grave without a monument.

In some cases, the grave may be a ‘common’ or public grave and there is no monument because the person died without family or the means to pay for their interment.

On the tour, even if a grave is unmarked, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you feel your phone buzz and you see a Discover Cemeteries sign.

Contact us

Have a question or feedback about Discover Cemeteries?

Contact our communications team via email at comms@gmct.com.au.