This burial place originally called Turimetta is now commonly known as Mona Vale Cemetery, as named in 1929. The ordinance covering the management of the cemetery was first proclaimed in 1921.
The 4ha for the cemetery was dedicated in 1905 being part of a 32ha grant to Thomas Collins in 1859. All of the then major religions were allocated a section. There is now no Jewish section but space has been allocated for Uniting, Baptist, Baha’i and Latter Day Saints believers.
Prior to Warringah Council becoming the trustee in 1929, people applied at the police station to bury their dead and then organised it themselves. This probably explains the haphazard arrangement and absence of grave numbers on some earlier graves.
A number of pioneers and early Pittwater residents are buried here. Some of the earliest birthdates indicated on headstones are: Henry Ball, born c.1836, died 1921; Mary Ann Ball, born c.1837, died 1922; Jane Turner, born c,1841, died 1921.
The earliest burials were in the Church of England and Methodist sections. The oldest surviving headstone is for Percy Johnson who died in 1914 aged 2 years. A 1989 plan of the cemetery shows some unregistered graves in the Church of England section near the original entrance gate and in the Methodist section which may predate this headstone. The first entrance roadway ran south to north along the centre of the cemetery between two rows of cypress pines. This area is now being used as an extension of the Church of England section.
At the Mona Vale Road end of the central avenue are the stone gateposts erected in 1929 by local stonemason James Booth for £12 ($24). The Booth family have a plot in the cemetery although James was buried at Wilton.
The cemetery was originally bordered by a wide buffer zone of trees on the boundaries and along the central entrance avenue. Many of these have been lost as more space was needed for burial places and access roads. Some trees have succumbed to disease.
The Warriewood electricity substation lies to the north of the cemetery with power cables running underground towards Mona Vale Road. This means that graves cannot be dug in that corridor.
The columbarium (niche wall) was started in 1974 and named the S.O. Reynolds Memorial Wall in memory of Warringah councillor Sydney Owen Reynolds. His request for interment locally led to the proposal for the wall. He died in 1972 with no record of his interment in the cemetery.
Since the 1980s many grave monuments have been constructed here by Northern Memorials with masons Jose Lourenco and his son Ian. Jose came from Portugal where he had learnt the trade from his father and grandfather. In 1990 Nan Bosler conducted a survey of the cemetery. She noted that earlier monuments were made by Watters and then Watters and Mullins Pty Ltd with many others carrying the name G.B. Peacock. Granite was widely used as was sandstone.
The metal plates for ex-servicemen were provided free of charge by the Dept of Veterans’ Affairs.
Research by Bob Pauling