Harkness Memorial Masterplan

Aurecon Australasia Pty Ltd / Harkness, Australia

Architectus, Aurecon, McGregor Coxall, and Greenshoot Consulting are collaborating on the design of a new cemetery at Harkness, Melton, marking Melbourne’s largest public cemetery project in over 100 years. Selected by the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT), this consortium of leading architecture and landscape design firms aims to create Stage 1 works at the expansive 128-hectare greenfield site adjacent to the Gilgai Woodlands Nature Conservation Reserve in Melbourne’s west.

The Harkness site endeavors to be a place that respectfully examines our relationship with memorialization, striving to foster care, connection, adaptation, and progression within the fabric of Melton and Melbourne’s greater western growth corridor. It presents a significant opportunity to invoke action, preserving memory while celebrating life through a design that supports individual journeys of growth and acceptance. Serving as a regional destination, the reimagined cemetery will be a space that restores Country, fostering connections between people and the land, as well as among individuals.

The masterplan for the Harkness site reflects these ambitions, addressing the needs of the community and guiding individuals through life and beyond along three key axes: ecological, cultural, and community. The Cultural Line serves as a striking threshold, accentuating the vastness of Melbourne’s West. The Natural Axis, represented by Arnolds Creek, underscores a commitment to Caring for Country and sustainable practices. At the heart of the cemetery lies the Core, situated at the intersection of the three axes, honoring the land and enhancing the natural landscape’s beauty.

Embracing principles of the Circular Economy – Regeneration, Resilience, Sustainability – the new cemetery aims to combat climate change and serve communities both now and in the future. Aspiring to be off-grid, it will rely on on-site sources for energy and water, with an integrated water management plan to capture, cleanse, infiltrate, and reuse water across the site.

Site Area

128 ha


  • Open Space


  • Architectus
  • Greenshoot
Miranda Wilkinson
Talk to Miranda Wilkinson about Harkness Memorial Masterplan
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