The Field of Mars Cemetery opened in 1890 and when many of the smaller cemeteries in the surrounding areas were closed around 1910, it was considered to be an important cemetery for the area.

Field of Mars Cemetery was proclaimed on 3 December 1887. The name “Field of Mars” was given by Governor Phillip when he granted land to eight first fleet marines in 1792. There are several theories as to the origin of the name – all with military connections. These areas are now known as Ermington and Melrose Park.

Field of Mars was later applied to a wider district and in 1804 Governor King set aside 5050 acres as a Field of Mars Common for all the settlers. It was later found to be more than 6000 acres. When the Field of Mars Common was subdivided and privatised, 85 acres, 2 roads and 28 perches were set aside as a cemetery. More than half that area was later converted into the Field of Mars Flora and Fauna Reserve and the cemetery is now 17 hectares. The Field of Mars Cemetery was also originally part of the Field of Mars Common.