Sandgate Cemetery’s historic chapel will undergo a major restoration, with Northern Cemeteries matching a $330,000 NSW state government grant. Funding for the project was secured from the Crown Reserves Improvement Fund Program which supports the development, maintenance and protection of Crown reserves through the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
Northern Cemeteries’ Acting Chief Executive Officer David Ham said the repair work will deliver a comfortable indoor ecumenical space for people to farewell their loved ones as well as offer a suitable venue to be used by diverse cultural and community groups.
“The chapel’s refurbishment will allow us to provide a functional venue for people of all denominations and faith groups to use when they are planning funeral and memorial services,” Mr Ham said.
“Additionally, we support a number of community events throughout the year which are currently hosted off site and we are looking forward to accommodating these important activities at Sandgate.”
Built in 1936 the chapel’s inter-war gothic style architecture is considered to have significant importance unique to the cemetery on historical, social and aesthetic grounds. Blessed by Catholic Bishop Edmund Gleeson when it was built, and dedicated to St Joseph, the chapel was once used for requiem and special Masses and memorial services.
The building has no electricity connected and accessibility has been hampered over the years by a deterioration of concrete pathways, damaged bricks and timberwork. The adjoining toilet amenity is no longer fit for use.
“All existing defects and safety hazards will be fixed in order to return this impressive piece of architecture to its former glory,” Mr Ham explained.
“We are thrilled to be moving ahead, and to also have endorsement from the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, as we provide a safe and suitable space that will benefit our diverse community now, and for future generations.”
Development consent for the upgrade was achieved in March 2022; construction works are scheduled for April – July.
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Northern Cemeteries is a leading not-for-profit memorial provider committed to caring for the community in all its diversity.