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Famous Australian’s and their final resting place, part II


This is our second blog looking at famous Australian and where they are buried.

After the public mourning and responses to famous dying rarely do we think about what happened next, where are they buried, or were they cremated - do we even know?

For some people their interest in cemeteries can see them visit many cemeteries, some famous and some not, we call these people tombstone tourists. Here are a few more famous Australian's and their final resting place, or at least memorial place – did you know Steve Irwin is buried at Australia Zoo, Heath Ledger is interred at the family plot Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth, Pro Hart's grave is a sample of his artwork. As cremation continues to grow often the final resting place is unknown as families have chosen to keep this private, so memorials have been erected in public places instead. 

Cenotaph at Arthur's Creek Cemetery in Victoria.

 Peter Brock AM

26 February 1945 – 8 September 2006

Brock was one of Australia's most successful motor racing drivers. He was born in Richmond and went to High School at Eltham in Melbourne. Brock's first Bathurst was in 1969, and he won the Bathurst 500 for the first time in 1972. His record of nine Bathurst wins remains unbroken, he was called 'the king of the mountain'. He also won Sandown nine times, including seven times in succession. He also drove in the international racing circuit. Brock was killed instantly in an accident while driving in the Targa West rally outside Perth. He was farewelled at a state funeral at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne and a cenotaph placed at Arthur's Creek Cemetery in Victoria. 

Billing Road Cemetery, Northampton

Caroline Chisholm

30 May 1808 – 25 March 1877

Caroline Chisholm was best known for her involvement with female immigrant welfare and was considered to be very progressive for the time. Chisholm was born in Wootton, Northampton and married in 1830, her husband was in the East India Company's Madras Army and she followed him to India. In the following decades, they lived in Sydney and London before returning to Australia in 1854. Everywhere Chisholm went we advocated for education and promoted migration to Australia. Chisholm died in 1877 in London and her body was taken to her birthplace Northampton. It was rested overnight at the Cathedral of Our Lady and St Thomas, then she was buried next to her husband at the Billing Road Cemetery. 

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) statue of Betty Cuthbert

Betty Cuthbert

20 April 1938 – 6 August 2017

Elizabeth Alyse Cuthbert was born in Merrylands NSW with her twin sister Midge, she was schooled in Sydney but left at the age of 15 to work in the family nursery. She became an elite athlete and four-time Olympic Champion. She set many swimming world records and was known as Australia's 'Golden Girl'. In addition to swimming, she also competed in running events. She has been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and declared an Australian National Treasure. Following her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in 1969 she became an advocate for the disease and research. Cuthbert's memorial service was in Mandurah in Western Australia, her burial location is unknown. 

Pro Hart's grave at Broken Hill cemetery

Kevin Charles "Pro" Hart MBE

Born 30 May 1928 – 28 March 2006

Hart is considered the father of Australian outback painting and his works are displayed in galleries around the world. He grew up in Menindee in NSW on his parent's farm and his nickname was 'Professor' later being shortened to Pro. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1976, and in 1983 acknowledging his charitable work and generosity he was Australian Citizen of the Year. He died in 2006 after developing Motor Neurone disease in later life. A state funeral was held on 4th April in Broken Hill, after which he was interred in the Broken Hill Cemetery. 

Steve Irwin status at Australia Zoo

Steve Irwin

22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006

Steve Irwin, otherwise known as 'The Crocodile Hunter' as a famous television personality, conservationist and zoo keeper. He was born in Essendon in Melbourne before his family moved to Queensland. Australia Zoo was founded by his parents in Beerway north of Brisbane, Queensland. Steve was attacked by a stingray while snorkelling and died shortly afterwards. The Irwin family were offered a state funeral but chose a private cemetery and buried Steve at Australia Zoo. The site is not public. 

Portrait of Joan Kirner at the Victorian Parliament

Joan Elizabeth Kirner AC

20 June 1938 – 1 June 2015

Kirner was born in Essendon Melbourne and graduated from Melbourne University with a degree in Teaching. She was an Australian politician who was the first woman Premier of Victoria, serving from 1990 to 1992. She was an advocate of the Landcare movement and women's rights and after politics, she was a member of many Boards from Museum Victoria, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum in Melbourne. Kirner died 1st June 2015 after undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancer which she had for several years. Kirner was farewelled at a state funeral at the Williamstown Town Hall, followed by a private cremation.

Memorial at Point Heathcote Reserve, Applecross WA

Heath Ledger

4 April 1979 – 22 January 2008

Heath Ledger as a famous actor and director. He was born in Perth and attended various schools until he graduated at 17 and started acting. His films include 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight's Tale, Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight his last work. Ledger died from an accidental intoxication of prescription drugs a few months after The Dark Knight. A memorial service was held 9 February in Perth and then Ledger's body was cremated at Fremantle Cemetery. His ashes were later interred at the family plot in Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth. 

Joseph and Enid's grave at Mersey Vale Memorial Park, Tasmania

Dame Enid Muriel Lyons AD, GBE

9 July 1897 – 2 September 1981

Lyons was born in Tasmania where she met her husband and raised her family. Her husband, Joseph Lyons, was the Prime Minister of Australia from 1932-1939. In 1957 she was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE). After her husband died suddenly she withdrew from public life. Then in 1943 she became one of the first women to be elected to the House of Representatives and to serve in the federal cabinet. In 1980 on Australia Day she was made a Dame of the Order of Australia (AD) – a year later she died and her funeral was held in Devonport Tasmania. She is was buried next to her husband at Mersey Vale Memorial Park. 

Monument at ANZAC Park, Gunnedah NSW

Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar

1 July 1885 – 14 January 1968

Dorothea Mckellar was a poet and fiction writer and is best known for her poem My Country, the second stanza beginning "I love a sunburnt country/A land of sweeping plains,/Of ragged mountain ranges,/Of droughts and flooding rains." She was born in the family home at Point Piper in Sydney and lived in Sydney all her life. She published poetry and other works between 1908 and 1926 and was involved with several publishing and writing groups. She spent her last 11 years at a Randwick nursing home and died in 1968 – two weeks earlier she has been appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to Australian literature. Mackellar was buried at Waverley Cemetery in Sydney. 

Memorial statue, Freemantle, WA

Bon Scott

9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980

Bon Scott is best known for being Australian hard rock band AC/DC's lead lyricist and vocalist. He was born in Scotland but moved to Australia with his family in 1952 where they lived in Melbourne for four years before settling in Fremantle. Scott was found passed out and was declared dead when he reached a London hospital. The official cause of death was 'acute alcohol poisoning' but it was also claimed he overdosed on heroin. Bon's body was embalmed and later cremated, and interred by his family at Freemantle Cemetery in Western Australia. 

That is it for our second blog on Famous Australian's and their final resting place, I know Caroline Chisholm wasn't born or buried in Australia but she made it to the $5 note so I was willing to include her.

You can read our first blog here.

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