Category Archives: Payneham Cemetery

I am ashamed…

Map of Australia.Sth AustWith my head held high, I’ve always been most proud to be South Australian and enthralled by its uniqueness as a planned and free settlement. This dream of the “dissenters”, often called “The Paradise of Dissent” and “The Utopia of the South”,  was certainly not fulfilled as planned but,  nonetheless, South Australia has always been right at the forefront of social change. One prime example is being only second in the world, with New Zealand being the first, to grant women the right to vote and the very first in the world to allow women to stand for election to Parliament.

It is, therefore, with shame that I realise South Australia has also led the country in the desecration of the Burial Sites of our Pioneers, our Ancestors and our dearly departed.  No longer permitted to R.I.P. –  if the leases on their graves are not renewed the Cemetery claims ownership, buries strangers on top and, if family do not collect the memorials, they are disposed of in whichever way the authorities choose.

Headstone gone and strangers buried in the grave of:  Joseph Petter Bowen, Helen Leitia Bowen (nee Young), and Hilda Jane Bowen, Benjamin Clarence, Josephine Letitia and Estelle Maud Bowen, also memorial to Warwick Young Bowen AIF, who died in Cambridge, UK, in 1918

Headstone gone and strangers buried in the grave of: Joseph Petter Bowen, Helen Leitia Bowen (nee Young), and Hilda Jane Bowen, Benjamin Clarence, Josephine Letitia and Estelle Maud Bowen, also memorial to Warwick Young Bowen AIF, who died in Cambridge, UK, in 1918

Cheltenham isn’t the only cemetery which treats our Ancestors with such contempt.  Centennial Park, Dudley Park and Payneham are three others, that I know of, but there may be more. However Cheltenham is the only public cemetery, managed on behalf of all South Australians, who treats our Ancestors in this most disrespectful way.

The Adelaide Cemeteries Authority (ACA)  is a statutory authority of the State Government of South Australia and, since 2002, has been responsible for managing four cemeteries in the Adelaide metropolitan area—

*  West Terrace Cemetery, established in 1837, is a State Heritage Place (Register Number 12722).
*  Cheltenham Cemetery, established in 1876, originally owned and operated by the Port Adelaide Council.

*  Enfield Memorial Park, established in 1944, and commenced operations in 1947.

*  Smithfield Memorial Park, established in 1986 by the Northern Adelaide Regional Councils.

Cemeteries managed by the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority

Cemeteries managed by the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority

West Terrace Cemetery has, in the past, re-used graves but since receiving “State Heritage Listing”, because of rare indigenous plants growing within its grounds, the graves are protected.  I believe Enfield has also previously re-used graves, but stand to be corrected. In a phone call, a few weeks ago, I was informed that Enfield don’t re-use graves because “we have enough land.” Smithfield is way out in the northern suburbs, in a rather beautiful bushland setting, was only established in 1986 and seems to have huge amounts of excess land. They don’t re-use gravesites and disturb those who’ve been laid to R.I.P in their environs.

Book. Port  Adelaide. Mudflats to metropolisThe destruction of Cheltenham gravesites, and memorials, is the destruction of our history and a profound dishonouring of so very many of South Australia’s earliest Pioneers.  Cheltenham Cemetery is one of the oldest in the Adelaide metropolitan area, having commenced operations as the Port Adelaide and Suburban Cemetery on 27 July 1876 with the burial of Hannah Wheatley Mussared of Le Fevre Peninsula.

Port Adelaide is an historic area which was central to the colonization of South Australia dating right back to its inception in 1836 when Colonel William Light first sailed up the Port River. Port Adelaide has been the gateway to trade and commerce in the state and the first contact with South Australia for thousands of emigrants when they arrived by ship. Dr Susan Marsden points to the significance of the Port Adelaide region by describing it as:

“South Australia’s main port, its second city, and largest working-class district.”

Initially Cheltenham was the responsibility of the Port Adelaide Council, however, in 1987 this was passed over to the Enfield General Cemetery Trust on the understanding that it would be permitted to run the cemetery according to business principles and that gravesites, in the crowded cemetery, could be reused to provide funding for maintenance and further enhancements. It was a business decision.

Enfield General Cemetery Trust’s assumption of responsibility coincided with a series of State Government legislative reforms and Cheltenham became the first cemetery in Australia to redevelop expired burial sites. This was widely criticised by members of the public and the media and I well remember signing a petition, way back then, opposing this practice.

I would say that the interests of business still predominate in the continuing destruction of our heritage at Cheltenham Cemetery. The ACA Management plan reports,

At present, more than 40 per cent of all burials at Cheltenham Cemetery are in re-used sites. While the practice may be unpopular with some members of the community, it allows space for more than 300 interments each year and for the cemetery to continue to play an active role in meeting the needs of the local community.”

On page 7,  Adelaide Cemetery Authority also reports:

“The Authority provides more than 3,000 burial and cremation services annually, generating $8m in revenue that funds both operating expenses and capital development at our four cemeteries.”

So, who is responsible?… It is not the Cemetery management  nor the staff.  It is our South Australian Law which gives this practice the green light and our South Australian politicians are responsible for allowing it to continue. Many were hopeful the new South Australian “Burial and Cremations Act 2013” would bring an end to this practice but not so.

I’ve written previous about my distress at the destruction of “the final resting place” of so many of our Pioneers which you can read about HERE I also put this concern to the Attorney General, along with the expired leases at GX Section (click HERE to read) and received this response:

Response to my query from the Attorney General's Dept.

Response to my query from the Attorney General’s Dept.

I’ll be writing about this “Significant Places Policy” very soon. In the meantime you may like to read it for yourself on the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority Management Plan.”   Just click HERE.

The best time to get politicians to listen to our concerns always is leading up to an Election.  As it happens, the South Australian electorate goes to the Polls in March… so we all have an opportunity to contact our local member, the opposition, the Greens, Nick Xenephon… whoever, and say  STOP THIS!!! … that’s if you have a mind to, of course.  Not trying to tell you what to do     😆



Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel




Filed under Adelaide Cemeteries Authority, Centennial Park Cemetery, Cheltenham Cemetery, Dudley Park Cemetery, MEMORIALS, Payneham Cemetery, Pioneer Gravesites, RE-USING GRAVES, West Terrace Cemeter

THE ACT… all ready to rock ‘n roll

Cheltenham Cemetery Dec 2013  - thankyou to Michelle Lucas Watson for the photo.

Cheltenham Cemetery Dec 2013 – thankyou to Michelle Lucas Watson for the photo.

The Regulations for South Australia’s new “Burial and Cremation Act 2014” were gazetted on 16 Jan 2014 which enables the Act to be commenced. I thank the helpful staff at our South Australian Attorney General’s Department for immediately forwarding this information along with copies of the Regulations and the Act. You can read about the consultation process by clicking HERE.

On 1 Feb 2014 all cemeteries in South Australia will finally come under one comprehensive Law which has been 10 years in the making.  Sadly the re-use/ re-cycling of our Ancestor’s gravesites remains part of how Cemeteries are legally able to destroy and desecrate the burial sites of South Australian’s who were laid to R.I.P. and destroy their memorials.

The relevant sections of the legislation, dealing with this appalling sacrilege, are posted below.  Please refer to the entire document for further information.

South Australia

Burial and Cremation Regulations 2014

under the Burial and Cremation Act 2013

Version: 16.1.2014—

Part 3—Cemeteries, natural burial grounds and crematoria

(Excerpts below have been taken from pages 12, 13 & 14)

30—Renewal of interment rights (section 32 of Act)

A notice under section 32(2)(c) of the Act must inform the holder of the interment right of the following matters:

(a) that if the interment right is not renewed, the relevant authority is entitled to re-use the interment site under section 38 of the Act;

(b) the cost of renewing the interment right.

31—Surrender of interment rights (section 34 of Act)

The fee that may be deducted by a relevant authority from a refund under section 34(2) of the Act on the surrender of an interment right is an amount to be determined in accordance with Schedule 1.

32—Exercise or enforcement of interment rights (section 35 of Act)

If the holder of an interment right has died, the interment right may be exercised or enforced under section 35(1)(b) of the Act—

(a) by the spouse or domestic partner of the deceased interment right holder; or

(b) if there is no surviving spouse or domestic partner—by the eldest living relative of the deceased interment right holder in the following descending order of priority:

(i) a child;
(ii) a grandchild or great-grandchild;
(iii) a brother or sister;
(iv) a parent;
(v) a grandparent;
(vi) an aunt or uncle;
(vii) a nephew or niece;
(viii) a cousin;
(ix) any other blood relative.

33—Re-use of interment sites (section 38 of Act)

A notice under section 38(2)(b) of the Act must inform the personal representative or relative of the deceased that the relevant authority may re-use an interment site if the interment right relating to the site has expired and—

(a) the personal representative or relative of the deceased has informed the relevant authority that there is no objection on the part of the relatives to the re-use of the interment site; or

(b) the interment right is not renewed within 2 years from the date on which thenotice is given.

Work at Cheltenham Cemetery Sep 2013

Work at Cheltenham Cemetery Sep 2013

34—Disposal of unclaimed memorials (section 42 of Act)

A record kept under section 42(2) of the Act relating to a memorial that has been disposed of by a relevant authority must include—

(a) a digital photograph of the memorial that shows—

(i) any inscription on the memorial; and

(ii) the design of the memorial; and

(b) particulars of the previous location of the memorial within the cemetery or natural burial ground; and

(c) if it is not evident from the digital photograph—details of the materials from which the memorial was made.

Legislative history

• For further information relating to the Act and subordinate legislation made under the Act see the Index of South Australian Statutes or

Principal regulations –
Gazette 16.1.2014. p156  Commencement 1.2..2o14 except r 36—1.8.2014: r 2

Payneham Cemetery... demolition in progress

Payneham Cemetery… demolition in progress

1 FEB 2014!!!



Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

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Filed under Cheltenham Cemetery, MEMORIALS, Payneham Cemetery, RE-USING GRAVES, The Legislation