James Barnet, Colonial Architect
About the building
In 1869, funerary services were separated from ordinary railway traffic with the introduction of a dedicated cemetery branch line between Mortuary Station and Rookwood Necropolis. Both buildings were designed in the Gothic Revival style by the renowned colonial architect James Barnet. The train service operated between Sydney and Rookwood for over 80 years, transporting funeral mourners and visitors to the cemetery until the 1930s: eminent Australians John Fairfax, Sir Henry Parkes and Samuel Hordern all took their final journey from Mortuary Station. By the 1930s, motor hearses had become the main form of transport to the cemetery, so Mortuary Station was used for other railway purposes until finally, in 1948, the train service was withdrawn. The Rookwood Necropolis Receiving House was dismantled in 1957 and relocated to Canberra, where it is now the All Saints Anglican Church in Ainslie. Today Mortuary Station is managed and maintained by Sydney Trains as a non-operational station but is used occasionally for special events, exhibitions, tours, filming and photography.
Virtual tour experience
Explore one of Sydney’s hidden gems, rarely open to the public. Virtual guests will take a journey back in time to learn how this elaborately carved stone railway station was built to serve Victorian funerary practices in Sydney. Appreciate the landscaping and admire the architectural and cultural aspects of the building. Tour guests will gain an insight into burial practices in early Sydney, the relationship between Mortuary Station and Rookwood Cemetery and how the former Devonshire Street Cemetery and the building of Central Station fit into this fascinating history.