Category Archives: PRESERVING GRAVES

How can graves at Cheltenham be protected under the “Significant Places Policy”?…

Our South Australian legislation leads the country in making it lawful, and absolutely acceptable, for graves to be re-used if the lease has not been renewed.  I am so ashamed. You can read about my views HERE.

Back in June 2013 it was a shock to discover my Great Grandmother’s grave had one of those lease renewal notices on it, despite me spending much money to back pay the lease, and keep her safe for a few more years, whilst sorting out what this was all about.

Thankfully it was confirmed, by the records department of the ACA, that her lease was indeed paid up and the notice had been removed.  However, questions about the process remained ignored, and unanswered for some three months, until eventually I took my questions to the “higher authority” ie. the Attorney General’s Department which oversee the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority in it’s management of Cheltenham, West Tce, Enfield and Smithfield cemeteries, on behalf of the South Australian Government. It was most pleasing to get a full and detailed response, especially in regard to the order in which Cheltenham gravesites, with unpaid leases, will come up for redevelopment.  If you missed that post, please click HERE to read.

One of my questions was in regard to the preservation of the graves of  our Pioneers at Cheltenham Cemetery. This was the response.

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

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

Okey Dokey… great info and now it was time to go to the ACA’s  “Significant Places Policy” to see how this actually protects the graves of our pioneering Ancestors.

Q:   Am I able to ask that a gravesite be protected under the “Significant Places Policy” of the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority?

A:   4.2 of the policy (page 55) states:  “Any person or organisation may make re-commendations for inclusion in the Authority’s Significant Places List within Cheltenham Cemetery, Enfield Memorial Park or Smithfield Memorial Park. This includes members of the public, local government, State or Federal Government departments, Authority staff and Board Directors.”

Q:   What is the criteria for having a gravesite declared a “Significant Place” and therefore protected from being re-used if the lease has not been renewed?

A:  Pages 55 and 56 of the Policy describe the criteria for a gravesite being declared a “Significant Place” as:

1. Design or layout of a cemetery, or part thereof, reflects history and cultural heritage or a movement in cemetery planning.
2. A structure within a cemetery is unique or unusual.
3. A structure within a cemetery reflects a particular style or trend in design.
4. Trees or vegetation of significance or expected to become significant in time.
5. Remnant vegetation at West Terrace Cemetery.
6. Expresses a particular group’s identity.
7. Reflects the diversity of the Australian community, including social values and customs at a particular time.

1. A monument has unique or unusual masonry qualities.
2. A monument is a good example of a particular style of trend of monument design.
3. A monument denotes a significant date or incident in the history of a cemetery or the community.

Burial and Cremation sites
1. The site played a significant role in the development of the cemetery, that is, the first grave site, the first cremation memorial site.
2. The monumentation is dedicated to a particular group who have served the country or the community.

This policy allows the grave or memorial of a person to be accorded with significant place listing due to the person’s unique contribution to the community. In making the assessment, the Committee will consider—
1. The person’s international, national or local achievements.
2. The person’s history.
3. Any existing commemoration for the person and the location of that commemoration

Hmmm… I’ve always found Policy docs such a pain and often difficult to grasp… so my next step was to check out those gravesites, at Cheltenham Cemetery, which have been declared “Significant Places” in order to get a better understanding of how this “Significant Places Policy” has been applied, and actually works, in real life.

Once I’ve got this sorted, in my own head to the best of my ability, I will post here. In the meantime maybe you’d like to check the policy out for yourself and post some of your own ideas and thoughts in the comments section below.

Adelaide Cemeteries Authority “Significant Places Policy” (scroll down to pages 50-56)


Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel


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

Good-oil groves around graves…

West Terrace Cemetery,  referred to in the newspaper article below , is managed by the ACA (Adelaide Cemeteries Authority) on behalf of the South Australian Government which also manages the Cheltenham Cemetery.

There is, however, a huge difference between the two.  West Terrace Cemetery no longer re-cycles/ re-uses graves, as does Cheltenham,  because it has Heritage status. The graves at West Terrace receive this protection because of a rare indigenous plant growing in its surrounds, not because of the importance of the people interred there.

The gravesites at Cheltenham Cemetery,  whilst managed by the same organisation on behalf of the South Australian Government, are being recycled at an alarming rate with many of our “Portonians”  (Port Adelaide Pioneers) having strangers buried on top of them and their beautiful memorials removed.

It’s a heartbreak for many descendants returning, often from interstate or overseas, to find their Ancestors final resting place desecrated and demolished. It’s a disgrace that our history is being destroyed in this heartless and uncaring way.  We are told that people want to be buried near to where they live and so this is why, when the lease is not renewed, they re-use the graves.  This is simply not good enough…   It’s also said that it is necessary in order to have this money to maintain the Cemetery.  I say that there has to be a better way!!!

Please click on the link below to read the article.  Many thanks.


Copyright © 2013. Catherine Crout-Habel

The Advertiser
30 Dec 2013

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Filed under Adelaide Cemeteries Authority, Cheltenham Cemetery, MEDIA REPORTS, PRESERVING GRAVES, RE-USING GRAVES, The Legislation, West Terrace Cemeter

Can You Hear Australia’s Heroes Marching?

A total of 434 war graves marked by bronze plaques are contained in the Adelaide River War Cemetery. The burials are made up of 14 airmen of the RAF, 12 unidentified men of the British Merchant Navy; one soldier of the Canadian Army; 18 sailors, 181 soldiers and 201 airmen of the Australian Forces and seven men of the Australian Merchant Navy.

The Northern Territory Memorial to the Missing honours a further 292 servicemen and women lost to the north of Australia. The adjacent civil section contains the graves of the nine Post Office staff killed on 19 February 1942 during the bombing of Darwin, one of 63 separate occasions from that date. The 63 civilian casualties buried in the cemetery include those of 31 Indigenous Australians.

The youngest buried in the cemetery was Robert H. Stobo, Deck Cadet, M.V. ‘Neptuna’, killed 19/2/1942. He was with the Merchant Navy and was killed in Darwin Harbour during a Japanese air raid. He was only 16 years old.

Wing Commander A.R Tindal is also buried in the cemetery. He was killed in action during a Japanese air raid on Darwin on 19/2/1942. The RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory is named after him. During WW2, there were up to 30,000 Australian Army and United States soldiers based near the town. The 107th Australian General Hospital and 119th Australian General Hospital were set up around Adelaide River.

The last person to be buried in the cemetery was Eileen Hughes in 1947. She came to the Northern Territory to visit her son’s grave who was killed in the war. She died in a motor vehicle accident and was buried in the civil section of the cemetery.


Thanks to Eddie Rushworth for sharing this Video some weeks ago. It’s been lying heavy in my heart since then and now I know why.  It’s because I’ve been remembering the desecration and destruction of the gravesites, and memorials, of so very many of our South Australian “diggers” who died “following the call”… and the sacrilege of our “Australia’s Heroes” final resting place continues.

Can those of us who are left, truly say that we have proven to be “worthy of the sacrifice”?…  


Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel 



A chance to make a difference and preserve South Australian graves…

Right now we all have a brief opportunity to make a real difference in ensuring that the descendants of those buried in South Australia are fully informed enabling them to take over expired leases, and save/ preserve the graves of their Ancestors, if this is what they wish – information is power.

South Australia has a new “Burial and Cremation Act 2013”  which I’ve written about previously. The Draft Bill went through a Public Consultation process, passed the Parliament on 4 June 2013 and received Royal Assent on 14 June 2013.

This work to create a single Act to regulate the industry and to create consistency across the industry including the duration of interment rights, the closure and conversion of cemeteries and the re-use of interment sites, has ensured privately owned cemeteries are subject to the same regulatory scheme as publicly operated cemeteries.  This began 10 years ago with the work of a Select Committee and has much to commend it e.g. the removal of the 99-year limitation on interment rights in public cemeteries but unfortunately the leasing arrangements, whereby a burial site can be re-used/ re-cycled if the lease is not renewed, remains.

However, all is not lost because the Act can not come into operation until the “Regulations” which describe how the Act will actually be administered have been written and passed by Parliament.  It is most fortunate that our South Australian Attorney General/ Deputy Premier, John Rau, has called for public consultation on the Draft Regulations. Here is an opportunity for us all to put forward our views on aspects of this Bill crucial to family, family historians and genealogists… e.g.

*clarifying who is entitled to exercise, or enforce, an interment right when the holder of the lease has died.

*the manner in which descendants are advised the lease has expired and that if it remains unpaid the grave will revert to the control of the cemetery authority for “redevelopment” i.e. re-use/ re-cycling.

*the disposal of unclaimed memorials etc.

If you wish to take part in consultation on the Draft Regulations the contact person is:

Kellie Tilbrook
Senior Legal Officer, Policy and Legislation

Responses need to be forwarded in little more than 2 weeks time i.e. by the close of business Friday 15 November 2013, at the latest, and sent to:

Burial and Cremation Regulations 2013 Consultation
c/o Legislative Services
 Attorney-General’s Department
GPO Box 464


PLEASE NOTE:  Consultation is not restricted to those residing in South Australia as many move interstate and/ or overseas trusting that their loved ones will be left to R.I.P. in their South Australian graves and with the memorials telling a little of their lives and especially the depth of love and feelings of loss.

For further information and/ or to discuss these matters with like minded folk you can always apply to join the “Saving Graves – South Australia” Facebook Group. Please click HERE for the details.  Cheerio for now…


BURIAL AND CREMATIONS ACT 2013. South Australia. Assented to 14Jun2013

Burial and Cremation Regulations Draft for Comment


Copyright © 2013.  Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

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Preserving Our History…

Cemeteries are the repositories of our Social History. Near to Wollongong, New South Wales, the Waterfall General Cemetery – also known as Garrawarra Cemetery tells of a different time in Australia.  A time long past when the scourge of Tuberculosis was a living reality.

Time passes, we forget our social history and the lives of our Ancestors become lost if the stories are not passed on and especially if the physical reminders are removed from the Landscape. Waterfall General Cemetery – also known as Garrawarra Cemetery – operated from 1909 to 1949. This cemetery lies north west of Helensburgh, and is in the care of Wollongong City Council. Although it has fallen into disrepair, there is a determination to preserve this reminder of that which has gone before.

Copyright © 2013 Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

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