DEAD and buried celebrities are bringing life back to Sydney's cemeteries.
In a bid to entice new plot owners, a cemetery in North Ryde has even published a list of the famous departed with whom you can spend eternity.
"Johnny O'Keefe is buried here," says Tom Sweeney, community relations officer at Macquarie Park.
"So if you wanted a grave near him, you just ring up and ask if there is anything in Block 10. It wouldn't be too difficult."
Mr Sweeney's map, called the "Historic People Trail" leads potential customers on a mercurial trip downmemory lane, visiting luminaries like Sir John Kerr, Don Lane and star attraction "JOK".
Close to O'Keefe's grave is that of Ward Gargan, a famous 2UE DJ of the 1960s whose entry in Sweeney's celebrity pamphlet reads: "He is buried near his hero Johnny O'Keefe also born in 1935 like Elvis."
Mr Sweeney says there might be a new peak in people opting for a burial with the stars, with a range of fresh graves available for the first time in years. "There are 3000 graves that were purchased and never used that are just becoming available again so some of them might be near the famous people."
Waverley Cemetery in Sydney's eastern suburbs boasts celebrity-themed sections, with the sick and infirm able to select gravesites based on their worldly, or other, desires.
"Depending on what area you fancy, be it literature or sport, we have whole lists," a cemetery spokesman said.
"Dorothea McKellar is buried here, Henry Lawson, Lawrence Hargrave, (J.F) Archibald is here, the original founder of the Archibalds, Victor Trumper, the list goes on."
The cemetery's website invites people to "become a part of Australian history" by purchasing a grave at the site.
Alongside photos of the graves of poet Henry Kendall and aviator Lawrence Hargrave, the cemetery's blurb reads: "Many important men and women who helped shape Australia and its development are buried here.
"To help ensure your place in history, graves and memorials are currently available for at-need funerals and pre-arrangements."
Graves start at $18,000, which only secures the site for 25 years. A 99-year lease at Waverley will set you back nearly $45,000.
But your spot with O'Keefe is safe and sound, with Macquarie Park Cemetery selling permanent sites.
Graves start at $8620 for a non-denominational site in the general lawn section, while a spot in the Catholic section costs more than $10,000. Rookwood Cemetery is also luring prospective clients with a section of its website called Celebrities of Rookwood.
Underworld figure Abe Saffron and Peter Dodds McCormick, the writer of Advance Australia Fair, are buried at the famous cemetery.
Article originally appeared in Sunday Telegraph on Dec 2, 2012
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