It’s been an exciting and busy time with Saving Graves this week. As we prepared and researched for a newspaper article we had no idea the media storm it would raise! I’m lucky to be part of a great team who have taken up the cause with gusto and stepped up when needed. Kirrily Burton has been our spokesperson this week and is carrying on her Mum’s, Catherine Crout-Habel’s, legacy as it was Catherine who started the group. Kirrily didn’t feel that she could handle the interviews but she did a wonderful job! Maybe she was channeling Catherine just a bit.
Here are links to the articles and interviews.
The Advertiser story by Miles Kemp
Kirrily Burton’s interview with Chris Smith from 2GB Sydney
Mornings on Channel 9
Sunrise on Channel 7
Channel 9 News this is another news story they did for us, I haven’t got a copy of the interview with Kirrily yet.
We have a petition up on Change.org which we are asking everyone to sign! http://chn.ge/1CM4blQ
Leases are expiring on our Diggers’ graves and those graves will be reused if families don’t know about their expiry and/or cannot afford to renew leases. We need urgent action to prevent the graves from being reused. This affects soldiers who survived the war and returned home and later died from injuries unrelated to their military service, all others are protected by the Office of Australian War Graves. All South Australians whose grave or niche has an expired lease which has not been renewed after two years can have their site reused. This involves the ‘lift and deepen’ process whereby the human remains are excavated, placed in an ossuary, reburied deeper in the grave and a new burial is placed on top leaving no record of the earlier burial.
We need the support of as many people as possible to show the Government that we don’t want graves being reused in South Australia. Saving graves in South Australia is saving our heritage, culture and history. Cemeteries are sacred places where families can go to mourn and remember their loved ones as well as researching local and family history. What heritage are we leaving for future generations?
18 thoughts on “Saving Graves South Australia”
my father was buried at Centennial Park in 1965 and is due for renewal this year. As he was a First World War veteran I have been interested in the news lately about this matter and firmly believe that these graves especially should be exempt from renewal.
I would certainly like to help in any way I can and would prefer to make contact in person or by phone on 08 83385584.
Hi Judy this is Kylie Willison I’m a co-organiser of Saving Graves South Australia with Kirrily Burton. I’ve passed your message on to Kirrily and we will be in touch. Kind regards, Kylie
My grandfather is a WW1 veteran but was a British Army Gunner. He is buried with my Grandmother at Centenial Park. Even though he’s not a digger he served at The Somme and called Australia home after the Great War. I image his grave will soon be up for renewal. Is there a movement to stop this?
We at Saving Graves South Australia are working on it. We have the online petition listed above as well as a physical petition which we are hoping to have tabled in parliament when we have enough signatures. We are asking the government to remove the reuse of graves from the Burial and Cremation Act 2013. Our website is http://www.saving-graves.com and we have a Facebook page also http://www.facebook.com/nogravereusesouthaustralia
I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2015/02/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-february-27.html
Have a great weekend!
Thanks Jana it gives me a real boost to know that people are reading my blog and that you have shared it too.
Hi, because I live in the Hunter Valley I was not aware of the movement to save the graves of veterans. The re-use of graves in SA has been a source of worry to me for some time, particularly in West Terrace and other suburban cemeteries in and around Adelaide. My story is too involved for this space, but after finding my cousin’s missing Grandfather in 2010 and discovering he enlisted under his brother’s name in WW1 and died at Adelaide prior to Embarkation on 26/09/1914, and was buried in West Terrace, we have had no end of problems getting OAWG to accept that he was who we say he was, and the matter is still with them for further consideration for a Marker. MY cousin can afford to put a headstone on the grave, but that won’t protect it from re-use in the future However, the grave he lies in was leased to someone else and they were supposed to have been buried there, but by pure chance I discovered the name of the new leasee from 1938, who was not buried there but scattered at Centennial Park (never leave anything open on a desk that you don’t want me to read, I’m just as proficient upside down and backwards as right side up and forward), and again by persistence and chance I managed to track down the eldest living relative, who kindly agreed to assign the lease to my cousin. Problem is they only assigned the balance of the lease, 19 years, but my cousin is 82 years old and it is probably fair to say she won’t be around in 19 years. I was not aware of the cost of renewing a lease and my cousin would be shocked if I told her. So it is imperative that we get an official marker or have the legislation changed to stop the re-use of grave sites. I’ve never lived in SA, but still have relatives there, and my Grate Grandparents arrived in Adelaide in 1852. I’d be happy for someone to ring me on 02 4990 9688. My speciality for WW1 has been the men from Broken Hill in 1914 (they were sent to Adelaide, not Sydney upon enlistment), the 10th Battalion and 12th Battalion and men who died prior to Embarkation August to December 1914, approximately 20 around Australia.
One further comment, having read that at the expiration of the lease they dig up the body and re-bury it deeper, it would have one advantage in our case, we would at least find out if our man was in a Military Uniform, that at least would prove our case. Funnily I did ask Admin at Centennial Park if we could exhume our man and for some reason they were horrified, and that was probably in 2010, how quickly thinking changes when the dollar is involved. I have family buried at Cheltenham, Brighton, West Terrace, Naracoorte (just off the top of my head). Cheers, Sue Simmonds
Hi Susan thanks for getting in touch!! Thankfully West Terrace cemetery doesn’t reuse graves. They may have done so in the past but they aren’t any longer. West Tce is heritage listed for the historical graves and also for unique flora which grows there. Old graves at Cheltenham Cemetery are rapidly disappearing. Our website is http://www.saving-graves.com and we have a Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/526578220734730 sorry for the short reply I’m in Canberra at present.
Kind regards, Kylie 🙂
Hi Kylie, I found a WW1 soldier Frank Harper Reg. No. 22294, who died in August 1919, and is buried in the Catholic Western Ground Row No. Q Site No. 92 with the note that the lease is about to expire. Frank Harper embarked on 15 /10/1915 and R.T.A. on 21/07/1917, he was a gunner and went to France. I would have to admit to being a bit obsessive about this subject, but there are many errors in the various lists and memorials. An example would be the Local Memorial where I live, Cessnock, N.S.W., there are 170 WW1 names on it that are designated as K.I.A., and when I went through them (someone asked me to do a little project), I found 37 errors. So there is no certainty that the R.S.L. Virtual wall is correct. Would you like me to advise West Terrace about Frank Harper? Unfortunately I don’t do Facebook, but I may have to. Cheers, Sue Simmonds.
Susan Frank’s grave is listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website so his grave is protected by them and it is also up to them to maintain it. You can check any service personnel there http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx
I’ll email ACA and ask why they are “advertising” the grave for lease. I was sickened by the photo of the bulldozing of Cheltenham? cemetery. If vandals went through and knocked over the headstone there would be a hue and cry about desecration of graves. Why on earth can governments get away with it? Regards, Sue
The State Govt passed the Burial and Cremation Act in 2013 with very little response from the public because no one knew about it. I feel it’s done by keeping things quiet. It’s not until people make a noise about an issue that things change.
Hi Kylie, I’ve just asked Peter Skinn from ACA, why if they no longer re-use the graves in West Terrace, and all graves are protected, are they still advising expiry dates for re-lease. It seems a pointless exercise if all graves are now protected. The main reason for our pursuit of OAWG and our grave was to protect it in perpetuity, but apparently that no longer applies in West Terrace. Apart from the cost, there is no reason to stop us from marking the grave with a suitable headstone and inscription referring to his Military service. The grave has been unmarked for 101 years. I’m still extremely upset about the “re-development” of SA cemeteries. My Grandmother was a CAIRE, fortunately her father and mother are buried in West Terrace, but there are many more CAIRES that are buried in Cheltenham. John William CAIRE was the Mayor of Port Adelaide. Such a disregard for history saddens me.
My father Captain Philip James Claridge served in the war, Keswick Barracks for 1081 days. He also served in the reserves after this. He is buried at Centennial Park and his grave is due to be renewed this year. I believe he has served his country and deserves for his remains to be left undisturbed.
I hope you’re able to save your Dad’s grave. Please contact Centennial Park as they have been quite helpful in our struggle to save our families’ graves. We have a Facebook group if you’re interested in joining. https://www.facebook.com/groups/526578220734730/
Hi we have four graves up for renewal in Cheltenham cemetery. I am wondering how we go about trying to save these without paying the extrordinary high cost they want.
These graves are of descendants of a family member who had the first general store in Port Adelaide and also worked on many of the stone buildings in and around the Port.
We have advised the cemetery trust we do not want to pay and will claim the headstones to relocate to our property so they are not lost. But upon coming on this article I think we should try to save them.
If you have Facebook you may like to join our group Saving Graves South Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/526578220734730/
where we discuss these issues or you can contact me by email kira0030 at gmail.com