Architect Frank Bloomfield
Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematoria was designed by Frank l'Anson Bloomfield. Frank was born on 15 July 1879, the fourth child and eldest son of Clement Bloomfield and Amelia l'Anson.
Frank began military service in 1901, enlisting for the Boer War. He returned to Australia in 1903, where he worked as a clerk until 1908, which was when he began work as a probationary draftsman for the NSW Department of Public Works. By 1916 Frank had qualified as an architect, having been employed for private architectural firms as well as the State Housing Board and the NSW Railways.
Frank rejoined the armed services for World War I, serving in the 1st Pioneer Battalion which performed repairs to bridges, erected new ones and performed other construction tasks. By the end of the War Frank had risen to the rank of Lieutenant. Upon his return to Australia in 1920, Frank became Chief Architect of the NSW Branch of the War Services Homes Commission and by 1922, he had also established a busy private practice specialising in commercial premises, medium to large residences and small blocks of flats. Craigend in Sydney's Darling Point, built for Captain James Patrick of Patrick Stevedoring, is a notable example of Frank's residential designs. Frank's private practice continued until his passing.
In 1924 the New South Wales Cremation Company Ltd sent Frank on a study tour of England and Europe to inspect existing crematoria. This led Frank to create crematoria with an authentic European or 'florentine' feel which can be seen in his designs for both Rookwood Memorial Gardens, the first crematoria opened in NSW, and Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens. Frank created other crematoria designs, including a generic design based on a small Greek temple and an English-style chapel and columbarium, however these designs were never constructed.
Caption: Archival footage of Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, taken by Harold Cazneaux. Image courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW [PXD 806/40-132].
Frank Bloomfield noted that:
"(the Northern Italian architecture) with its suggestion of bright sunshine and colour to be most suitable to the Australian climate and people, while in addition it embodies the principles of the (Cremation) Society, which are to abolish the gloomy surroundings of the vault and graveyard and suggest rather virtue and new life."
Frank passed away on October 4 1949 and was cremated at Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens.