Waterfall / Garrawarra Sanatorium & Cemetery

Waterfall General Cemetery, also known as Garrawarra Cemetery, was used as a burial site for more than 2000 tuberculosis patients between 1909 and 1949. Located in isolated bushland north-west of Helensburgh, the cemetery was created as part of the nearby Waterfall Sanatorium, which was a hospital for people with tuberculosis and operates today as the Garrawarra Centre for Aged Care.

In 2013 Wollongong City Council developed a Conservation Management Plan for the cemetery. These interviews formed part of the research and extracts were used to prepare the video entitled ‘Not Forgotten: The Story of Waterfall General Cemetery‘. The council also has a webpage about the cemetery with the burial register, identified graves, care plan and an opportunity to share information.

Wollongong City Library holds Carol Herben’s book, Forgotten souls: the tuberculosis hospital and cemetery at Waterfall, NSW (Wollongong Library – Reference Local Studies – LR 362.196995 HER). A digital copy of the book can be accessed here.

Check the library catalogue for more information about Waterfall Sanatorium and the cemetery.

A History of Garrawarra Hospital, by Sue Rosen (Wollongong Library – Reference Local Studies – SLR 362.11 ROS)

Waterfall General (Garrawarra) Cemetery Conservation Management Plan – 7 June 2013

Garrawarra, compiled by Penny Ferguson (Wollongong Library – Local Cuttings File)

Ebony House (Wollongong Library – Local Cuttings File)

Click on the interviewees’ names or photos for more information and to listen to their stories.

Carol Herben Icon

Carol Herben

Carol was a Wollongong-based local historian and author who specialised in the recording of cemeteries and wrote ‘Forgotten souls: the tuberculosis hospital and cemetery at Waterfall, NSW’. She tells the stories of some of the people buried in Waterfall cemetery and talks about its future.

Listen to Carol’s story here.


Asher Ford Icon

Asher Ford

Asher Ford worked for Biosis, who prepared the Conservation Management Plan for Waterfall Cemetery for Wollongong City Council in 2013. He researched the historic background of the sanatorium and the cemetery.

Listen to Asher’s story here.

Preview 1:

Preview 2:

Robert Muggeridge Icon

Robert Muggeridge

Robert’s aunt, Gladys Muggeridge, was a patient at Waterfall Sanatorium for six years until she died at the age of nineteen and was buried in the cemetery in 1927. Robert would like to see the cemetery restored and open so families can visit the graves of their relatives.

Listen to Robert’s story here.