Cheltenham Cemetery, here in South Australia, is one where the recycling/ renewal of graves, because the leases/ grants have expired, seems to be progressing at an alarming rate. Three months ago I was shocked to discover that the grave of my Great Grandmother, whose lease is still current, had one of those horrid expiry notices on it.
19 Jan 2014 – Please note that an update to this post can be viewed HERE
The on-line record shows that the lease is indeed still current but had I not paid a timely visit to check on my many “rellies”, laid to RIP at Cheltenham, I would never have know that Eliza Jane’s sacred place had been marked for destruction.
Well, after a considerable amount of persistence the Records Department finally confirmed, in writing, that a mistake had indeed been made and the expiry sign removed. However, other information I’d requested e.g. when was the notice of the expired leases published and why had I not received a letter advising of Great Grannie’s “expired” lease was never answered. My last email advised that because I had been unable to receive a response my only choice now was to take it to a “higher authority”.
Time passes, other matters demand priority and on coming back to look into this niggling problem other inconsistencies appeared, especially those related to the relevance of the on-line information provided by the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” on expired leases/ grants. Most outstanding is this list which made me think that there were only a relatively few graves under threat right now.
However, on closer examination it became very clear that most of these burial sites have been “re-developed” already and, it would seem, that those remaining are so “chocka block full” with at least 2, 3 and sometimes 4 previous family burials that it’d be pretty jolly difficult to shove another person into this relatively small space. So, just a few days ago, I did take the matter to a “higher authority” as I’d already advised.
(Please see the correction in the update below)
When sorting through the on-line information it doesn’t take long to work out that the responsiblity for Cheltenham Cemetery, West Tce, Enfield and Smithfield is that of the South Australian Government. In 2001 the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority Act was passed and the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority Governance Board was formed and is answerable to the SA Government re: the management of these 4 cemeteries through the Hon Gail Gago MLC.
Further checking shows, on the website for our South Australian Premier, that The Honourable Gail Gago MLC is indeed “Minister for State/ Local Government”, so all is looking “okey dory” I reckon. However, today I was advised by the office of Ms Gago that this is not her responsibility and so my request has been passed onto the Attorney General, John Rau.
Phew… sounds a bit like another “groundhog day” to me cos I’ve sure been down this path before with “Parliamentary bureaucracy”. Hopefully it’s just a hiccup, a mistake, a mixup and very soon I’ll get my request passed onto the relevant person before another South Australian grave is “recycled” … possibly without the knowledge of the descendants.
Maybe I’ve got this wrong and maybe I’ve mixed up my facts?… if so, I’m very happy to stand corrected.
Any ideas/ suggestions as to how best move forward ensuring that those whom have Ancestors laid to R.I.P. in South Australian cemeteries are at least given the best opportunity possible to preserve their Heritage, Family History and Sacred Spaces are most welcome. Thanks.
5 Oct 2013 – UPDATE
Well things certainly have been happening real fast around here, in the last 24 hours, and at last some information from the ACA has come to me, albeit in a rather round about way, but “beggars can’t be choosers” I reckon, and sure am smilin’ 😆
It’s been made clear that the names on this list are of the person who owns the lease/ grant, not the person whose gravesite it is. This means that when doing a search on that person’s name and it shows the site has been redeveloped it’s referring to the burial site of the grant holder in another part of the Cemetery. It seems that none of the gravesites on this list have yet been “re-developed” which is good to know. I draw you attention to the advice on the notice above.
“Please note that correspondence must be received by the Authority within six months of this notice appearing otherwise the site will revert to the control of the Authority and will be subject to redevelopment.”
So, if you know someone who is related to any of the Grant Holders named above, or who know the person buried in the Allotment, please let them know that the lease has expired.
I certainly was confused, as were many others, and it’s something to keep in mind when providing the Government with feedback on the writing of the regulations which will clarify exactly how the new “Burial and Cremations Act” will be enacted.
Many thanks to the person who provided this information. It’s a shame she does not want her name mentioned but I do respect this wish.
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel