In 1884 the Guyett family migrated from England to Melbourne. They later settled in Numurkah and in 1887 moved to Maryborough, where our great-grandfather, Thomas George Guyett, worked for a firm of funeral directors, or ‘undertakers’ as they were then known. He and his wife, Lillian, had 13 children.
In 1905, the family moved to Port Fairy where Thomas started a number of businesses including a funeral service; a building and contracting business that built Glaxo factory, churches and homes; and a furniture shop that sold prestige furniture.
The business was then known as ‘Guyett & Sons: Undertakers’.
The motto of the firm today is the same as it was in 1905: WITH DIGNITY, REVERENCE AND SERVICE
Until 1930, coffins were made on site at Princess Street, Port Fairy. Our grandfather, John Blackwell Guyett, moved from Port Fairy to Warrnambool around 1925 to set up a Warrnambool branch of the business. His brothers, Bert and Ernest Guyett, remained in Port Fairy.
In 1946, with our great-uncle Bert at the helm, the business purchased a site at 224 Timor Street in Warrnambool. The family recognised that Warrnambool was growing, more so than Port Fairy. Our parents, Jack and Marj Guyett, purchased the funeral business from other family members in 1959. Great-uncle Bert retired in the early 1960s. Jack passed away in 1986 and we continued to run the funeral home as a family business.
In the early 1990s, we renovated the Timor Street building while at the same time continuing Dad’s dream of finding a new and more spacious home for the business. The business continued to grow and in 2002 we purchased our Mortlake branch from Barry Christian. Christians in Mortlake was established in 1906.
After Mum’s death in 2007 and after more than 60 years in Timor Street, we found an ideal new location on Raglan Parade in east Warrnambool, and in August 2008 we purchased the former McDonald’s Restaurant site. The change of business application and building permit were processed and approved by Warrnambool City Council and building of the first stage of our three-stage premises started in January 2009, just five months after settlement.
Our new site, known as Eastern Park, was officially opened on September 4, 2009. It was named in recognition of the land’s earlier history as Eastern Dairies. Stage two, which was our garages and storage area, was completed in March 2011.
Our first meeting with Warrnambool City Council for stage three, the chapel, was held in January 2010. From there architect Matthew Morse finalised plans, which were put to tender, and we started construction of the chapel. The Guyetts Funerals Warrnambool chapel was built by Bolden Constructions and officially opened on May 9, 2014.
Our site now offers a stand-alone funeral home and a stand-alone funeral chapel and refreshments venue.