How to have your say


The ACT Heritage Council has listed Norwood Crematorium on the ACT Heritage Register. The Council considered all comments received during the public consultation period in making its final assessment to register the crematorium. The final assessment and background document can be found on the Heritage Register.

About the Norwood Crematorium:

Norwood Park Crematorium has been registered on the ACT Heritage Register for its important role as the primary facility for cremations in the ACT. Mourners can farewell loved ones according to faith or secular requirements. The crematorium is an excellent example of its type.

Norwood Park Crematorium has played an integral part in changing attitudes towards dealing with the dead, from a burial-based society in the early days of the federal capital to cremation being the preferred method. It demonstrates the principal characteristics of crematoriums in a creative design that allows it to be used by all religions and non-religious people alike. Its modern style links it with a period in history when cremation became much more socially acceptable and the process proliferated around the country and the Western world.

This welcoming design, open to all, has made the Crematorium a special place for the community as a place of interment and remembrance.

Norwood Park Crematorium attributes (section one)

Norwood Park Crematorium has the following attributes:

  • The chapel, including:
    • dais that forms a continuous and integrated horizontal plane with the reflection pools flanking it in the courtyards, creating a raised platform for the catafalque and creating a contemplative space;
  • The cremator section, including:
  • columbarium wall (as a memorial as well as a screening blade wall that forms an essential part of the design of the building);
  • other memorials as demand grows (the crematorium should not be limited to the current set of memorials, but any new memorial areas within the central section should complement the building and setting); and
  • the landscaping, including:
  • catafalque;
  • vestry to allow a separate space for the preparation of memorial services;
  • nave (large open space for various sized groups attending services);
  • porte-cochere as an extension of the horizontal plane of the roof allowing a covered area integrated with the rest of the building for a dignified entry space for the funeral party in all types of weather; and
  • the overall post-war modern design exemplified by the cubiform shape, large flat glass walls and doors and a simple elegance in its combination of forms, textures and lines that emphasise horizontal planes, light and lightness of structure; and in particular:
    • the flat steel-deck roof on steel frame that overhangs the building with wide fascias allow for the horizontal plane to extend, or ‘float’, over the non-structural walls;
    • the horizontal band of frameless glazing around the perimeter wall that add to the effect of the roof seeming to float with little support, which gains extra emphasis with the full height glazing;
    • the low facebrick entrance blade walls that add further to the horizontal emphasis and partially screen the courtyards on either side of the chapel;
    • the mix of colours emphasising natural, earthy tones (natural wood, copper, face brick and stone) juxtaposed with bright, white and translucent areas such as the sheer curtains;
    • the entire underside of the ceiling (fascias, soffits and ceiling) in the same material, adding to thehorizontal emphasis and thefloating effect of the roof as well as blurring the lines between interior and exterior;
    • the skylight in the porte-cochere to illuminate the entrance;
  • the twin chimney stacks as a pair of squat rectangular facebrick features that match the modern styling of the rest of the building while making them relatively unobtrusive;
  • cremators (these are a basic requirement of a crematorium and should be updated or replaced as required to meet current standards or best practice); and
  • connection to the chapel where the industrial side of the process is visually subservient to the publicly accessible and visible parts of the building;
  • the long, low water features on either side of the chapel;
  • open courtyards on either side of the chapel that can integrate with the chapel;
  • the driveway to the porte-cochere;
  • the road surrounding the main building as a ceremonial driveway;
  • memorial gardens; and
  • large mature trees that enclose the memorial gardens as well as screen nearby development and roads
    • the remaining original boundary plantings that help screen outside development and provide a sense of enclosure, and
    • the remaining pre-1966 native trees (various species) that help to create a sense of enclosure and add a natural, informal character and sense of age and permanency to the memorial gardens

While the condolence chapel, memorial gardens and various other memorials are included in the heritage listing boundary, they are not a specific part of the heritage significance of the place. They are included in a general sense, in that they complement the above features and use of the place and enhance the experience of a sense of arrival, but the physical fabric that comprises the non-listed features does not need to be preserved for the purposes of the heritage listing.