Rookwood Notables

Rookwood is home to both the notable and the notorious, from suffragette Louisa Lawson, comedian ‘Roy Rene’, fiery politician ‘Big’ Jack Lang, Sydney Morning Herald founder John Fairfax, and the nineteenth century Chinese businessman Quang Tart, through to convicts and gangsters.

In this series of short biographical films – titled “Rookwood Notables” – fascinating aspects of Sydney life are told through the stories of publisher, John Fairfax, retail giants, David Jones and Anthony Hordern, comedian, Roye Rene aka “Mo McCackie”, and celebrated Chinese merchant, Mei Quong Tart, each of whom are buried at Rookwood Cemetery. 

Peter Dawson

Peter Dawson was a renowned singer, composer and gramophone recording artist. Dawson commenced singing lessons at the age of 17 and won many contests. He published his autobiography, Fifty years of Song in 1951.

Watch at short film on Peter Dawson


Louisa Lawson

Renowned suffragette and newspaper proprietor Louisa Lawson was a pioneer ahead of her time. Louisa was the mother of Henry Lawson, noted Australian short story writer and balladist. A well-educated, creative woman who also  wrote poems and short stories.

Watch short film on Louisa Lawson

John Fairfax

Pioneer newspaper publisher John Fairfax – who purchased The Sydney Herald, later to be renamed The Sydney Morning Herald – was a model of enterprise and determination. Fairfax emigrated from England in 1838 with five pounds in his pocket… although it’s now safe to say he spent it wisely!

Watch short film on John Fairfax

David Jones & Anthony Hordern

Legendary retailers David Jones and Anthony Hordern each established department store chains that dazzled the colonies when they opened their doors for trade in the first half of the 1800s. At one stage Anthony Hordern's Sydney emporium offered over 54 acres of retail space and sold everything from “a needle to an anchor”.

Watch short film on David Jones & Anthony Horden

Roy Rene

Better known as “Mo McCackie” – Australia's most successful vaudeville star – Rene was one of the world's greatest clowns as well as a singer, actor and radio star. The film features some rare recordings of 'Mo' from the famous radio series “McCackie's Mansion”.

Watch short film on Roy Rene

Mei Quong Tart

This reveals some of the story of the Chinese businessman who became the darling of Sydney society operating six outstanding tea rooms, and who contributed to Sydney in so many colourful ways. A wonderful story of early integration.

Watch short film on Mei Quong Tart

War Graves

In 2015, one hundred years on, Australia remembers its role in the ill-fated Gallipoli landing.
Other centenaries, particularly the 1916 battles of the Somme and Fromelles, remind us of the futility of war and the senseless loss of life.

Watch short film on War Graves

Contact us for more information about the remarkable history of Rookwood Cemetery.



Hawthorne Ave, Rookwood NSW 2141 (north of Necropolis Drive) 
PO Box 291, Lidcombe, NSW 1825

02 8575 8100


Mon - Fri: 07:30AM - 17:00PM
Sat & Sun: 09:00AM - 15:00PM

Public Holidays: contact office for opening hours 


Summer: 06:00AM - 21:00PM
Winter: 06:00AM - 18:00PM