Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel
The destruction and desecration of gravesites disturbs my very soul and to see these old burial sites allowed to simply return to nature fills my heart with gladness…
Most graves that can be seen are just piles of rocks overgrown with cactus and creosote. This one had a nice fence once, but I think the cactus protects the grave more than the metal fence ever did.
Here’s an overview of the cemetery. Not many family members visit to put flowers on the graves. But the other day there were bluebirds decorating the area. Very nice.
I’ll link with Friday Fences, although mine are minimal.
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
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:
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
GPO Box 464
ADELAIDE SA 5001
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…
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel