Gardens Cemetery was opened in 1919 after the closure of Palmerston Cemetery on Goyder Road and was Darwin's main cemetery up until 1970.
There are many different types of graves, headstones and epitaphs, and Darwin City Council's records list over 1,200 graves. Many notable people from a period of rapid development in Darwin (1920s-1970s) are buried in the cemetery. Many of the memorials indicate ethnic origins, family associations, and circumstances of death and thus comprise an important record of Darwin's community spanning more than six decades. Cultural groups represented in the cemetery include Greeks, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Thursday Islanders as well as Australians of British descent. A number of graves of returned servicemen were moved to Adelaide River for reburial at the Adelaide River War Memorial Cemetery in 1944. Gardens Cemetery was succeeded in 1970 by the McMillans Road Cemetery, though a small number of burials have continued to take place at Gardens Cemetery.