Gore Hill Cemetery – St Leonards, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Gore Hill Cemetery

St Leonards, Australia

One of Sydney's oldest graveyards hides in plain sight behind a hospital. 


Hidden in plain sight behind a private hospital and a beautiful park just a 20-minute drive from central Sydney are more than a hundred years’ worth of graves and stories.

Gore Hill was established in May 1868 by William Tunks, who is buried on-site. Nearly five decades since the final burial, nature has started to reclaim parts of the area. Tombstones range from being sun-bleached to snapped in half. Some are overgrown with the inscriptions entirely worn off, offering a solemn reminder of mortality to all their living visitors. 

The chain-link fence neighboring the highway that separates the living from the dead has worn down over time. Some bits expose grassy pathways that lead the way into the heart of the cemetery, past unmarked and children’s graves.

The immense silence is peculiar in comparison to the soundtrack of the street just steps away, but it is not shallow. History from some of New South Wales’s earliest European inhabitants rings loud and clear for those who come to listen. Just one of the noteworthy people interred there is Mother Mary MacKillop, the first Australian recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.

The necropolis was placed on the New South Wales Heritage Register shortly after its 133rd birthday.

Know Before You Go

Its hours are Monday through Friday hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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September 6, 2019

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