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Reimagined Harkness Cemetery a place of care, connection and progression

Architectus is working in partnership with Aurecon, McGregor Coxall, and Greenshoot Consulting to design a new cemetery at Harkness, Melbourne’s largest public cemetery project in over 100 years.


Commissioned by the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT), our multidisciplinary consortium won the design competition for the development of a masterplan for a new cemetery and parklands.

The visionary project aims to be a place of care, connection, adaptation, and progression woven into the fabric of Melton and Melbourne’s greater western growth corridor.

“Our masterplan reimagines what a cemetery can be – beyond a sanctuary for families to grieve, we’ve created an innovative, multi-use public space that includes recreational sites, retail venues, and parklands all aimed at welcoming the community and celebrating life,” said Mark van den Enden, Group Director Communities at Architectus.

Adjacent to Gilgai Woodlands Nature Conservation Reserve, the 128-hectare greenfield site located in Melton embraces Wurundjeri culture, fostering an ongoing respectful relationship of reciprocity with Wurundjeri as Traditional Owners of the land, championing cultural awareness, knowledge exchange and understanding. 

Mark added, “working closely with our consortium members, we’ve addressed broader challenges of climate change, population density, and public demand for more open, diverse, and inclusive public spaces.”

GMCT CEO, Andrew Erikson said: “Cemeteries are one of the few places in urban areas that bring so many communities, histories, belief systems and lives together in harmony, to respectfully reflect and meaningfully celebrate what is important to them. GMCT’s cemetery project at Harkness is firmly rooted in our values of compassion, respect, integrity, and sustainability. It will provide the communities in that region the same social value as all our sites – a place dedicated in perpetuity to remembrance, thoughtfully designed and supported by dedicated staff.”

A regional destination for those seeking a unique open space experience, the reimagined cemetery will be a place that repairs Country, connects Country to people to and people to one another. A place that adapts and reflects our changing society. 

The team has now commenced the detailed design phase for Stage 1 works.

Read more about the Harkness Cemetery Master Plan.


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