Hundreds of Graves about to be “recycled”…

UPDATE:-  I finally got some answers to my questions.  Whilst most of the leases have expired, this area is not due for “re-development”, re-use/ re-cycling of the graves, before 2018. More about this in a follow up post to be published shortly.

19 January 2014  – The update to this post can be viewed HERE


I come to you with great sadness in my heart. Do you have family laid to rest in the Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia?

Cemeteries. Cheltenham. expired leases.17Sep2013Right there on the corner of Port Road and Chippenham Street, Cheltenham is Section GX in our South Australia’s Cheltenham Cemetery and over 400 gravesites there are about to be/ or have already reverted to the control of the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” because their leases have not been renewed.

Many years of family history research resulted in me finally finding that my Great Grandmother was laid to R.I.P. in this GX Section at Cheltenham.  I’ve now paid almost $1000 to keep her in the ground, and her burial place undisturbed, but this will run out in 7 years time and, despite paying out all this money, I still have no control over her gravesite. i.e. I am unable to tidy up the grave and/ or fix a memorial for her because I do not hold the lease. My Great Uncle who died way long ago is the person named as holding the lease and trying to find his descendants, to ask for them to sign the lease over to me, is like “trying to find a needle in a haystack” .  However, that is another story, for another time.

What a shock it was when visiting the many “rellies” in Cheltenham Cemetery, just a few months ago, to ensure that they were all still tucked up safe and sound, tidy up their graves etc… to discover that this same Great Grandmother’s gravesite had one of these horrific recycle notes stuck to it.

Eventually the Records Department, of the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority, advised in writing that it was a mistake and the sign had been removed. All well and good but when visiting Grannie I saw that almost every grave, on both sides of that pathway, also had these warning notes stuck to them.  I kept trying to shut out this information but eventually did have to go back and have another look. To my horror, I discovered that nearly every Grave in the GX section has a “lease expiry” notice affixed.

Whilst absolutely disagreeing with the re-cycling of graves I do accept that, according to our South Australian Law at the present time, this is possible. What bothers me about these Graves in GX is that I’m unsure if the Policy of the  “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” has been followed.  It sure was not followed in the case of my Great Grannie’s gravesite.  At no time did I receive a letter advising of an expired lease… nor, despite my close scrutiny of the South Australian print media, did I see anywhere advertised the lapsed leases/ grants of the GX Section at Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia. I’m happy to be corrected with clear evidence to the contrary.

Furthermore, some of the information online re: the re-development of Cheltenham Cemetery is so out of date that it’s almost laughable… if we weren’t crying so much.

The South Australian Government is responsible for ensuring that the Board of the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” does their work in making sure that their employees follow the policy.  I am expecting that our Attorney General, John Rau, will direct his employees to investigate my concerns with the utmost of expediency… because once these graves are gone, they can not be replaced.

Hopefully my worries will be proven to be unfounded.

If you have family buried in the Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia… please do not hesitate to contact the records team at the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority to check out the security of their gravesite(s).  The email is:

To search the records yourself, just click on this link:

Further Information about Cheltenham Cemetery can be found here:

GOOD NEWS!!! I’ve just, finally, received information that the ACA do not intend to
re-cycle the graves in GX in the near future (y) However the leases HAVE expired and to retain ownership these need to be renewed.  4 Oct 2013



Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel



Filed under Adelaide Cemeteries Authority, Cheltenham Cemetery, RE-USING GRAVES

5 responses to “Hundreds of Graves about to be “recycled”…

  1. Nikki

    This happened at the Springvale cemetery in Melbourne to the plaques belonging to my deceased mother and sister. They were not buried there but their plaques were dug up as their 25 year tenures had expired and the cemetery could not contact the next of kins in both instances. My mother’s next of kin was her father who was also deceased when this all came to my attention in 2005 and my sisters next of kin is my father who had moved house and not let the cemetery know.
    As a result, both plaques were dug up and put in the store room temporarily.
    So, at great expense to myself, I paid 4 instalments for each plaque of over $800 for another 25 year tenure for both plaques. Both plaques are now back in the Rapids area at Springvale now until 2030 by which time will be 72 years old. So, I may have to do it again for them to remain there for my lifetime at least. I could not do a permanent tenure which I actually think is so wrong and unfair.

  2. peter

    RE Nikki “I could not do a permanent tenure which I actually think is so wrong and unfair.” Why is that?

  3. That is so terrible Nikki 😥
    It certainly becomes very costly. I spent almost $1000 to preserve my Great Grannies grave at Cheltenham. That paid for 15 years lease but because I had to pay the back fees that keeps her safe for only another 7 years. All this money still gives me no control over her grave because my Great Uncle, who is the leaseholder, is long dead and can’t sign it over to me. He parted from the family and I’ve still not found his relevant descendant to ask for it be signed over… grrr
    There is a “Saving Graves – Australia” website with links to West Australia, South Australia and Victoria Saving Graves Facebook Groups. You might like to ask to join the Victorian Group… they are very helpful and may be able to offer some advice/ help. Here’s the link:
    Thanks for commenting Nikki… I hope things improve soon. Cheers…

  4. Pingback: Plan for re-using Gravesites – Cheltenham Cemetery 2013-2018 | South Australian Graves Under Threat

  5. To let readers know that there has been an update to this post, as info has come to had… Just click on the link. Cheers…

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