By the mid 1800s, Town Hall and Devonshire Cemeteries, Sydney, were closed for health reasons. A large tract of land was purchased at the now Rookwood to replace them.
However transport of the departed and mourners by horse and cart proved to be too slow.The solution was to build a rail spur to the new cemetery shortly to be called Necropolis. Original stations were of timber and corrugated iron. These were felt to be less than respectful to the dead. The plan was to construct a series of sandstone stations. The plan was carried out with the first station soon followed by numbers 3 and 4.
By the 1930s road transport superseded the need for rail. The practice was briefly revived under the pressure of petrol rationing in World War II. The last mortuary train ran in 1947.
Without use, the station fell into disrepair and the roof was burnt in a bush fire. In 1957, the Ainslie parish purchased the right to remove the stonework for 100 pounds. A builder who volunteered and others from the parish then proceeded to demolish and rebuild the building.
The current church bell was presented in recognition of the building's rail history by the NSW Steam-tram and railway society. Much more in the way of the history of this unique building can be found by visiting it or the church's website.
This text based on and further information from:
Rookwood Cemetery railway line, Sydney
All Saints Ainslie