At Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, we are dedicated to helping you choose the best way to remember your child’s young life and giving you a special place to express your love.
Our unique children’s gardens, Garden of Innocence, Garden of Loving Memories and Dragonfly Garden, have been created to give comfort and provide a sense of serenity and loving warmth. Colourful blooms and animals greet visitors. The joyous spirit of childhood and youth is preserved forever.
Aidan’s Legacy is a program which ensures the proceeds of a unique recycling initiative are directed to the families of children lost pre-term, stillborn or up to and including 17 years of age. Aidan’s Legacy provides for the cost of cremation and associated chapel services, or receive a subsidy towards the cost of a burial. This legacy of love assist family’s at the most difficult time.
Pregnancy & Infant Loss
October 15 is a special day for remembering lives taken too soon. October 15 is officially recognised in New South Wales as the date for the Annual Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Each year, on this day, a moving candlelight service is held in the Garden of Innocence. This ceremony offers a chance for grief to be shared and a burden to be unloaded in a reflective atmosphere.
Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, sister cemetery, Woronora Memorial Park, as well as numerous other cemeteries in Australia, participate in this annual service. A Service supporting the Infant Loss Remembrance Day that pays tribute to those of us that have been touched by such tragic loss.
We are grateful for the many community based organisations which support this very special event - SANDS, Stillbirth Foundation Australia, SIDS and Kids, Bears for Hope, Pillars of Strength, The Compassionate Friends NSW Inc., HeartKids and Running for Premature Babies.
Giraffe and Ark Memorial
This very special Giraffe and Ark Memorial was officially opened by Mrs Linda Hurley during the 2015 Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day Service and dedicated to all the babies buried in unmarked public graves or in unknown locations within Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park (ESMP). The first such babies to be buried within unknown locations arrived at ESMP dating back to soon after the cemetery opened in 1893.
Up to the early 1980's most stillborn babies were taken from the mother at birth and interred amongst many cemeteries, most often without the mother or other family members even touching or viewing their baby after birth. For many of the children, other than surname, simply remained unnamed.
Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park has close to 2000 babies who came into cemetery care in a different time, with different standards to that we have today, and who were not assigned a grave with their name. In Many cases, their location within the cemetery are unknown. This memorial in the Garden of Innocence is for all of our children who, in many cases are not known to their parents that they are resting with this cemetery. The memorial has a parent giraffe with a young giraffe in an Ark. Giraffes are tall. These Giraffes are symbolic of height, over-looking the entire cemetery for all those babies, no matter where they are located.
The Ark symbolises the lives of all those babies, who are carried on in the spiritual Ark of Hope. Genesis 8: 1, in the midst of the great flood and on the Ark, “…God remembered…” From the Great Flood on which the Ark literally carried the Hope of a new future, God gave the world’s first rainbow, a rainbow given by Him to provide Hope in the midst of any storm, including the storm of death. Hope is real, Hope is needed, Hope is for those babies.
On 15th October each year, Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park provides each attendee an olive leaf on a small branch, symbolic of the communities support with Hope, Love and Prayer for the circumstances of loss. The olive tree symbolises hope, in that the olive leaf was in the dove’s beak when it returned to Noah in the great flood story from the first book of the Bible.
During the official opening, words were shared from a family affected by the loss of a child who, at the time, did not have a proper opportunity to say goodbye or subsequently know where their child went. Even today, they have no idea in which cemetery their baby is located.
“She is part of our family. We wonder who she would have looked like. How different would our lives have been?”
In honour of their pure and precious lives, the Giraffe and Ark memorial was dedicated by the cutting of pink and blue ribbons. The following was read from the opening plaque which has been placed around one of the giraffe’s necks.
“In memory of the Innocents, Baby Boys and Baby Girls who were buried in unmarked graves between 1893 to 1990. For all our children now at home and at peace within this cemetery, our love surrounds you, wrapped within pearls of eternal, special, prayers.”
For those children, for those families who have suffered the loss of loving a baby at hospital, and simply, not knowing what happened to those children, not knowing their specific final resting place, we remember them. We do remember you, and in our hearts, a place you may call home is forever yours.
Landon’s Legacy Memorial
During the 2016 Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day Ceremony, which falls on the 15th October each year, The Hon. Kristina Keneally, former Premier of NSW and Patron of the Stillbirth Foundation addressed guests and with Landon’s parents, unveiled a sculpture, donated by Arrow Bronze Foundry in remembrance of Landon and in support of the Stillbirth Foundation Australia.
The sculpture is of a baby nurtured within loving hands, representing a little boy, Landon Maxx Baggett. On the 5th May 2015, Landon was born. While otherwise a healthy little boy, he was born without breathe. He was stillborn. Landon was 1 of 6 babies born without breath in Australia on that day. Landon bequeathed a Legacy. While we cannot teach Landon about the world, together we can teach the world about him. Landon has a message. Every 4 hours, a baby is stillborn in Australia. Almost 2,200 babies every year. There has been no decrease in numbers, despite medical advances over the past 20 years. Up to 40% of parents never receive answers as to, “why?” Together we, us, you, our community, together…. we will make a difference.
Graham Boyd, CEO of the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust and Victoria Bowring, CEO of the Stillbirth Foundation Australia appeared on the ABC weekend News Channel 24 on the morning of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day 2016.
Baby Lily Grace National Awareness Day
29th April each year
On 30th November 2014, the body of an unknown child was found at Maroubra Beach, Sydney NSW. Baby Lily Grace, as named was laid to rest on Wednesday 29th April 2015 in the Garden of Innocence following a chapel service at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, Military Road Matraville which is a part of the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) in NSW.
It is with the communities love and hope that a special memorial was built to give such children dignity and a special resting place which becomes their home for eternity. Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park offer the community a place of prayer, a place to reflect, a place to focus on a life that could have been. A peaceful place of tranquillity and remembrance.
The 29th of April marks “Baby Lily Grace Awareness Day”, where a ceremony, partnered with Joseph Medcalf Funeral Services, is held in the Garden of Innocence at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park.
The service honours and remembers all children of our Nation who have passed without the community knowing family heritage.
The Honourable Kristina Keneally, former Premier of New South Wales and Patron for the Stillbirth Foundation Australia, presented and lead a Memorial Walk from the South Chapel to the Garden of Innocence at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park at the 2016 ceremony.
The first service occurred pre-dawn (5:00am start) on Friday 29th April 2016, when symbolically many say that, the night is the darkest just before dawn. The ceremony began with the lighting of pink candles, extinguishing them as the sun rose.
The meaning of candles lit in the darkest hour is that there is hope even in the darkest of circumstances. By extinguishing our candles when the sun rises we recognise that a brighter light provides a dawning hope that lights up everything in its path. The sunlight provides warming, nourishing, light, revealing and transforming all upon which it falls, and it cannot be stopped. The dawn provides symbolic spiritual Hope for such children.
A pink and black ribbon marks “Baby Lily Grace Awareness Day” and on the 29thof April each year is worn ‘In Memory’ of Baby Lily Grace. Pink is the colour of compassion, nurture and love. Pink is also a sign of hope. The colour represents the sweetness and innocence of the child in all of us, whilst black symbolises the community’s bereavement for Lily Grace and all other unknown children.
The annual ceremony forms the nucleus of something very special for all time for these precious children. It is important to hold such a significant day to help raise awareness of the help that support services may provide families and that options do exist, that there is a better way.
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