The Springthorpe memorial is of significance as one of the most exciting and scholarly memorials to have been built in Australia, for the outstanding use of a variety of materials in its execution, and the quality of its workmanship.
Significance of Boroondara Cemetery
Boroondara Cemetery is an historic site of significance to Kew,that contains monuments of wider significance. Four monuments within the cemetery have been designated as Grade A structures (mainly on architectural grounds), however the cemetery's significance lies in its overall intact state and the historic nature of many of the graves within it, and for its proximity to Victoria Park.
Boroondara Cemetery, Springthorpe Memorial - Physical Description 1
Originally set aside for reserve purposes, a portion of a triangle of land situated almost in the centre of Kew, was proclaimed the Boroondara Cemetery in 1859 The planning of the cemetery was carried out by J.F. Higgins of the Lands Department and the first burial, at what was later to become one of Melbourne's historic landmarks, noted particulary for its memorials, took place on 12 March 1859.
Dr John Springthorpe commissioned this memorial to be built for his wife, Annie, who died in January 1897. Likened to a classic Greek doric temple, the marble sculpting of the tomb was carried out by Benram McKennal while the iron sculpture was executed by Webb Gilbe An article in the Argus at the time considered the memorial to be '...the most beautiful work of its kind in Australia ...' The memorial is scholarly in its design, exciting in the use of a variety of materials, and beautifully executed. The materials adopted in the work include the Ionian order columns executed in black, Labrador granite , grey granite to the entablatures and pediments, wrought iron on the balustradings, vibrantly coloured leadlight to the domed ceiling and mosaics and encaustic tiles to the floor. In addition to the temple form of the memorial itself, it was given an impressive entrance way that remains substantially intact, built in grey granite with metal plaques and gate.