New life for historic Chapels

The beautiful heritage-listed Chapels that star at the heart of Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park (ESMP) and Woronora Memorial Park (WMP) are currently undergoing renovation for the next six months.

Opened in 1934 the Woronora Chapels were designed by architect Louis Leighton Robertson of Louis S. Robertson and Son Architects, and constructed in rendered masonry by builder Norman R. Smith of Bexley. Their fluted columns and moulded panels consistent with classic inter-war art deco architecture.

Four years later a similar two-Chapel structure, also designed by Robertson and Son, opened at ESMP. In a later upgrade the ESMP Chapels were embellished with richly detailed stained-glass windows, designed by Charles Wetton and executed by Peter Mackenzie.

While the Art Deco Chapels at both parks have been maintained and upgraded over the decades, the highly anticipated restoration will see these chapels restored to their former glory.

This project will see a significant investment committed to help maintain and enhance the parks' important heritage assets, whilst also delivering contemporary requirements for modern-day funerals. These include improved seating, leading-edge equipment for high-quality live streaming, along with upgrades to public amenity and accessibility intended to increase the operational life of the buildings by at least 20 years. The Chapels will continue to serve the community with a high standard of service as meaningful and attractive spaces in the future.

Work will begin at Woronora Memorial Park 9th May, 2022 and Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park on 12th May, 2022. Both projects are expected to be completed in approximately six months.

Alternative Chapels have been made available for the time that the work is in progress. Chapel services at WMP, which can hold up to 68 people with 70 in overflow, will be held within the grounds at Woronora Lodge. At ESMP the temporary Chapel will be the Ascension of Jesus Christ Mausoleum which can hold up to 100 people. This contemporary marble-clad space is filled with light and the glass-walled, vaulted atrium looks out onto a contemplative courtyard beyond.

During the remedial works access to the Chapels and surrounding ash memorial gardens may be restricted; however, requests for access can be made with Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries. Please contact the administration office to arrange an appointment to visit your loved one within the construction vicinity.

For further information visit smcnsw.org.au/chapel-care.