The Old Melbourne Cemetery was than established but was soon too small and under pressure from the neighbouring Queen Victoria Market.
The Melbourne General Cemetery (or New Cemetery as it was referred to) was established by act of the New South Wales Parliament in 1850. An area of 40 acres (16ha) was set aside 'out of town' (i.e. about 2 kilometres), and the cemetery was opened on the 1st of June 1853.
Since its opening, close to a million people have been buried in the cemetery, despite several periods of corruption mismanagement and neglect. A number of people were exhumed from the Old Melbourne Cemetery and re-buried in the new one. The cemetery is currently managed by the trustees of the Springvale Necropolis.
The cemetery is the last resting place for many famous Australians, and a number of the graves are classified by the National Trust.
In 1994, Victoria legalised above-ground burials and the first mausoleum in the cemetery was opened in 1998 and a second near the gatehouse in 2004.