Melbourne General Cemetery (supplied)
by Jonathan Chancellor
Melbourne General Cemetery has listed a cathedral-style burial vault with an asking price of $155,000 plus.
Built in 1866, the octagonal structure it is being offered as a burial site for the first time. It is one of the eight historic rotundas within the Carlton cemetery that provided visitors with shade during their visits.
The final pricing is currently with the Department of Health, and it is envisaged to be more than $155,000. The price was initially gazetted at $200,000 by the Department of Health but has since been reviewed.
It has some 300,000 neighbours.
With the typical mausoleum crypts sale yielding about $33,000, the cemetery trustees acknowledged the decision to convert the rotunda followed “the virtually instantaneous sale of two cathedral-style vaults at St Kilda Cemetery".
Nicole Stow from Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust says nearby graves include one of the founders of Melbourne, John Pascoe Fawkner.
The ornate plot has enough space for two graves.
The vault sits on 10th Avenue in the heart of the cemetery. A striking piece of granite now seals the vault and allows for commemoration.
"With the current construction of the Saint Mary of the Cross Mausoleum at Melbourne soon to be completed providing a number of new interment options, we have been going through a process of reviewing all of our prices," Stow says.
"The price takes into account the cost to install the concrete lined burial vault which is finished off with a piece of granite, the cost to refurbish the Summer House rotunda and the cost to maintain the structure and surrounding area in perpetuity.
"Given there are seven other summer houses within the grounds, if there was a demand in the future more could be converted into another vault.
"The two Cathedral Style vaults sold at St Kilda Cemetery in 2008 were slightly different structures, but similar in that they were a pavilion-style building, which sold for approximately $156,000."
In 2009-2010, revenue from cemetery operations was $17.2 million ($24.8 million in 2008-09), with operating costs totalling $14.1 million, resulting in an operations surplus of $3.1 million.
Income from its investment portfolio generated $3.7 million compared with a 2008-09 loss of $19.1 million, reflecting the partial recovery of the equities market and the realisation of some investments.
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