Tours

Volunteer guides lead tours throughout the cemetery on the 1st Sunday of every month from March through to November.

Tours depart from outside St Michael's Chapel near the East Street entrance (Lidcombe end of the cemetery) at 10.00am. Please arrive a few minutes for 10.00am so you can pay for your tour, etc.

Twilight tours are also held in November, January, February and March. 

All monies raised from tours goes into restoration projects within the cemetery.

Please see below for tour profiles. 

Our tours are all separate tours and are subject to change without notice.

In March, May, June and November 2021 we are also offering an afternoon tour – 1.30 to 4pm

7 March

10 am

Feisty Women

1.30pm

Plague & Pestilence

11 April

 

10 am

To Serve Us All My Days OR

Introduction to Rookwood

2 May

10 am

Ships & Shipwrecks Drawing Sailboat Sailing ship - old Ships png download - 600*496 ...

1.30pm

Heritage 1

6 June

10 am

Heritage 2

1.30pm

Scottish Free Thistle Cliparts, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art on ...

4 July

 

10 am

 

Clever & Inventive People of the Victorian Age OR

Introduction to Rookwood

1 August

 

10 am

Railway Walk Free Steam Train Cliparts, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art ... OR

Introduction to Rookwood

5 September

10 am

Heritage 2

3 October

10 am

Murder & Mayhem

7 November

10 am

 Irish Free Shamrock Cliparts, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art on ...

 

1.30pm

Heritage 1

 

 

TWILIGHT TOURS FOR 2021

 

5.15 pm* to 7.30pm

 

Sunday 17th January

Sunday 21st February

Sunday 21st March

Sunday 21st November.

 

BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR TWILIGHT TOURS

Eventbrite link to be added closer to tour dates

Book by phoning or texting: Julie – 0419 986 589

OR  Email us on: friends_of_rookwood@hotmail.com

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

*Twilight Tours depart from the small pedestrian gate in East Street Lidcombe, (near Railway St, opposite Davey Street) – Meet at 5.15pm.

Please park in East Street and NOT in the Cemetery

 

TOUR PROFILES

 

HERITAGE WALKS – these tours are an introduction to the Heritage area of Rookwood Necropolis

Part 1 – Takes us into the Old Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Independent and Jewish burial grounds where funerary decoration and symbolism abound. Along the way, we visit the graves of John Fairfax, John Dunmore Lang, Bee Miles and the man who saved the life of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1868.

Part 2 – Ventures into the Old Anglican and Catholic sections where newly restored areas are a feature. Monuments removed from Devonshire Street Cemetery in 1901 date back to the early 1800’s. Hear the story of the man with his dog, David Scott Mitchell, Anthony Hordern and the Toohey family.

Introduction to Rookwood – a general introductory tour of some of the heritage areas of Rookwood.

THEMED TOURS

Feisty Women - (NEW) - In Victorian times, a woman had to be tough to survive in a male dominated world. On this tour you will meet many pioneers who have paved the way for those that came after with stories of sorrow and ultimate triumph. Meet an Opera singer, one of Florence Nightingale's students, a Police officer, a Politician, a rebel, a suffragette, and a formidable Publican amongst others. Many of these women could claim to be the "first" in their professions but have long been forgotten. This tour aims will honour them and showcase their trials and tribulations

Plague & Pestilence – Disease and epidemics took thousands of lives in early Sydney. Measles, scarlet fever and typhoid were responsible for families losing many loved ones within days or weeks of each other, and of course, there was the plague! Men returning from WWI in 1919 brought the influenza virus with them, causing deaths. ‘Cures’ for some of the ailments were horrific. Many doctors and nurses died of diseases contracted in the workplace. The development of the medical profession is also a feature of this tour.

To Serve Us All Their Days - Come along and hear the tales of those, who many times, put their own lives at risk so we could live a better one. This tour will encompass War heroes from WW1 and WW2 as well as Firemen and other service personnel. Politicians who rose from humble beginnings to govern us at the highest level, such as the boilermaker who became the Premier of NSW, will also be included. Rookwood has many humble heroes and heroines and they led amazing lives that need to be heard.

Ships and Shipwrecks – In the 19th Century, transport by sea was the only link with distant homelands and with many of the Australian settlements. Hundreds of thousands of convicts and immigrants made the always hazardous voyage at a time when an average of one ship a week was lost in Australian waters. Well into the 20th century, ocean travel was the only way in and out of Australia. Headstones at Rookwood bring to mind some of these journeys and disasters. Names of famous and less-known wrecks are recorded on many family monuments. Hear too about the early years of the Australian Navy and the Sydney Squadron of the Royal Navy on the Australia Station

The Scottish Tour - The Scottish tour takes us for a wander through the old Presbyterian section. It takes in the graves of many worthy pioneers spanning a period from 1870 to the early 1900s. Poverty, famine and epidemics in Scotland in the 1820s and 1830s caused the first significant emigration to Australia. Farms were established in rural areas and the urban settlers worked as skilled artisans and professionals. Community organisations such as Presbyterian churches and highland societies provided a focus for social and cultural activities. The tour visits the graves of ministers including one who liked to carry a six shooter and a missionary who worked in the Rocks. His diaries convey a wonderful picture of Sydney in the late 1800s. You will also visit the grave of a wood carver and playwright, a philanthropist and publican, a botanist and the owner of a steamship company.  The stories are interesting and the walk to the outer fringes worthwhile.

Clever and Inventive People of the Victorian Age – Come on a journey paying tribute to our forebears who lived through a time of rapid change due to the Industrial Age and the coming of the railways. Learn of some of that century’s ‘movers and shakers’ who due to these changing times made fortunes and changes the fabric of society. Meet stonemasons, gardeners, explorers, firemen and more. See the changes that paved the way for the status of women.

The Railway Walk – Walk with us when we visit the graves of the first train drivers (Sixsmith & Twiss); the first guard (Robinson) and the Hudson family. As well, we will relate stories of the workers and some of the accidents that occurred in the early days of the NSW Railways. Funerals of the humble and the great travelled by train, from the Mortuary Station, Regent Street, Redfern, to the beautiful sandstone Mortuary Station which once stood in Necropolis Circuit at Rookwood. Until its closure in 1948, the railway was a major part of the cemetery’s infrastructure, extending over 3kms with four stations. This is one of the lost railways of NSW.

Murder and Mayhem – A tour with stories about hangings, victims of rape, murder, robbery and misadventure. Hear about bank robbers and the bravery of those killed in the execution of their duties. The Blue Mountains murders, the Munt Rennie case, foolhardy fishermen drowning in bad weather are just some of the hair-raising accounts described on this tour.

The Irish Tour – Almost a quarter of the convicts sent to Australia came from Ireland. Some political prisoners were sent here without a trial, many others were petty thieves. Immigrants followed, some to escape the ravages of the potato famine or to join the would-be fortune makers on the goldfields, others just seeking a better life for their families. Many of these people and their descendants have left their mark; tradesman, religious leaders and bushrangers are among their number. We also explore the difficulties experienced by the Catholic Church in its early days in Australia.

TWILIGHT TOURS depart from the small pedestrian gate in East Street, Lidcombe (Near Railway Street, opposite Davey Street). Please meet at 5.15pm SHARP. BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL.

Held in the cool of the evening, we will tell the stories of such people as Captain Moonlite, Jacob Pitman, Louisa Lawson to name a few. We also tell of a murder that took place in the cemetery. As we stroll along the Serpentine Canal, you will be able to see the restoration and elaborate garden plans that were a feature of the cemetery in the 19th century.