Reimagined Harkness Cemetery to Serve as a Place of Care, Connection, and Progression

Reimagined Harkness Cemetery to Serve as a Place of Care, Connection, and Progression

McGregor Coxall, Architectus, Aurecon and Greenshoot Consulting are designing a new cemetery at Harkness, Melton, in what is Melbourne’s largest public cemetery project in over 100 years. The consortium of leading architecture and landscape design firms has been appointed by the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT) to work in partnership to design Stage 1 works at the brand new, 128-hectare greenfield site adjacent to Gilgai Woodlands Nature Conservation Reserve in Melbourne’s west.

The design 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. The reimagined cemetery will also embody fundamentals of Circular Economy – Regeneration, Resilience, Sustainability – to combat climate change in service of communities now and into the future. 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.”

McGregor Coxall Associate Director, Melbourne Co-Studio Leader and Project Director, Miranda Wilkinson said: “Cemeteries serve as mirrors of our culture and communities, reflecting our ideas of nature and social norms. As designers and custodians of the land at Harkness, we have a responsibility to make a truly positive change for the community and environment. “McGregor Coxall is excited to be part of such an illustrious consortium and looks forward to working with GMCT to delivering Stage 1 of Harkness Cemetery and Parklands.”

Works are a continuation of the masterplan design submitted for public consultation in 2022, which included Aurecon as Community Engagement Consultants. The consortium’s approach was the winning entry from an international design competition hosted in 2021 which attracted 24 comprehensive submissions from across the world.

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