Waterfall (Garrawarra) Cemetery

(For some recent history related to the Garrawarra Cemetery, please click here to go to Wollongong Council website. This page has links to an excellent short video about the cemetery, to the Draft Consevation Management Page and the Burial List.)

The Waterfall Consumptive Hospital cemetery is situated about one kilometre south of the Garrawarra Hospital on the old Illawarra road. It is on the Eastern side of the road with an 8 metre gravel road running through the centre of the cemetery in an West/East direction. Remains of an entrance gate, gardens, pine grove and parts of the eastern perimeter fence still remain.

The Garrawarra Hospital was officially opened in 1911 as a TB Sanitorium. Burials commenced a couple of years before, as the dates of the tombstones indicate, and stopped in the late 1940s. The hospital had its own mortuary and autopsy lab. The local Helensburgh clergy performed most of the burial services since they functioned as paid Chaplains for the hospital. The cemetery was divided into religious sections, although at the height of epidemic there was not enough time to follow such formalities. Many of the people who died were from England and were buried without a family contact. It was believed in England that a move to Australia may cure the disease.

The Garrawarra Hospital has a record of the more than 2,000 people buried in the cemetery. There was a site plan, but this has been lost. Most sites do not have a headstone and are only marked by a numbered peg. The 2001 Christmas bushfire destroyed most of these, as well as damaging the remaining headstones. Sadly quite a bit of vandalism has taken place. Headstones have been smashed and graves dug up. The cemetery could be repaired, but is probably best left to return to nature.

The following transcription was undertaken by Mr. Don Owen of Helensburgh. The position of the graves is indicated either North or South of the road running through the cemetery.

Waterfall Cemetery Layout 1902