Gg – is for Grave concerns…

Family History Through the Alphabet

Ever tried to stop your great grannie from being dug up, her bones squeezed into a tiny box, being replaced and a stranger plonked on top?… a matter for grave concern indeed and my topic for this week’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge.


It took many, many long years to locate the “final resting place” of Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray born at Armagh (near Clare), South Australia, on 1 May 1867 and died in Adelaide, South Australia, on 26 Jul 1955. She was the fifth daughter of “my Susan” – Susan Kelleher from County Clare, Ireland whose “Bride Ship”, the “Nashwauk”, was wrecked off the coast of South Australia, 13 May 1855. Her father was Timothy Rowen who arrived at Port Adelaide, aboard the Utopia on 9 Jul 1858, with his two brothers, and sister-in-law. Timothy was Susan’s 2nd husband also from County Clare, Ireland.

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray – (c) C.Crout-Habel

On 3 Jan 1886, at St Peters Catholic Church, Gladstone (near Laura), South Australia, Eliza Jane married Peter Murray, a new arrived Irishman from County Cork. Shortly after marrying, the newly-weds moved to Broken Hill, New South Wales, where Peter, Walter and Elizabeth Mary Murray (my Nana) were born. Nana was the first of their children to survive. Six years later the family moved back to Laura and 8 more children were born. Eliza Jane finished her days living happily with her youngest son Vic, his wife Jessie and their 4 children; Dulcie, Peter, Helen and Suzanne at Cheltenham, South Australia.

4 Generations. Bottom: Catherine & Eliza Jane. Top: Kathleen & Elizabeth (c) C.A.Crout-Habel

After a long and productive life, my Great Grandmother died at the home of her daughter, Hilda (Murray, Mundy) Steinle, in Clapham, South Australia. It was 26 Jul 1955 and just 2 short years after the death of her eldest daughter (my Nana) when Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray was “laid to rest” at Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia, Australia. Her gravesite featured strongly in my chilhood and loomed large in mum’s memories… why?  Her voice would thicken, and tears would fall, as she spoke of the behaviour of the priest;

“It was terrible Catherine… it started to rain… that man jabbered and he raced through it and he jumped over her open grave to get out of the  rain”.

So distraught, and distressed, was mum over this lack of respect for “such a devout and pious woman”, I can only guess at what she would be thinking now, 56 years later, as I do battle to stop this very same grave, finally located only just last year, from being desecrated.

The problem is that the 50 year lease expired 7 years ago and, if it’s no re-newed, the grave will be reused. However, the “grant holder” is my great Uncle Andy who died in 1972. My present task is to go through the designated list of HIS direct/ blood rellies to determine who is now entitled to exercise his “rights” and either;

*  pay the $3025 to renew the lease, or
*  sign grannie’s gravesite over to me so I can do so

This will ensure that Eliza Jane’s grave is not desecrated, she can remain buried and not have strangers plonked on top.

To enable this “Grave concern…” to be put to rest, please contact me if you are a blood relation, or know the whereabout of a blood relation, of:

Andrew Patrick MURRAY – (c) C. Crout-Habel

Andrew Patrick MURRAY
BORN:  14 Dec 1897, Laura, South Australia, Australia
PARENTS:  Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray & Peter Murray
MILITARY SERVICE:  World War II; 20 Jul 1940 – 20 Nov 1945 
DIED: 26 Feb 1972, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
CREMATED & INTERRED:  Enfield Memoria Park
FORMER ADDRESS:  Woodville Gardens, South Australia, Australia

Mum loved her Uncle Andy and he adored his mother. Her grave must not be desecrated.

My other “Grave concern” is to renew the lease on the burial site of my beloved son, Jarren Vaughan Habel, at Midland Cemetery, Western Australia, which expires on 2 Jul 2012.

Do you have, or have you also had, any “Grave concerns”?…


Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family  

31 thoughts on “Gg – is for Grave concerns…

  1. That sounds terrible! To have to keep re-buying the grave over and over and then if anyone forgets or everybody in that line dies to lose the grave. How sad.

  2. Best of luck with finding the people you need to sign the rights over to you. We had some issues a few years ago when my uncle’s headstone (war grave) got moved to a cemetery at the other end of town from where his body is. His sister, my aunt, got very upset about it.

  3. Oh dear, I didn’t realise this sort of thing was happening so much now in Australia. How awful. I hope you have luck finding those direct descendants.

    • Oh, so do I Kerryn. This is a relatively new ruling because about 10-15 years ago, when I finally located my Grandpa’s grave at the same Cheltenham Cemetery, there was no problem at all with me re-newing the lease.

  4. Pingback: Family History Through the Alphabet - G is For ... | Genealogy & History News

  5. It’s sad that cemeteries do this, but it is happening. And we’ve had to go though this with my great grandfather’s grave at West Terrace Cemetery in Adelaide. I do wish you all the very best to track down the reli’s who currently have ownership to the grave.

    • Thanks Alona… seems to me that the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” is particularly bad with this nowadays. Unfortunately Uncle Andy is Nana’s one sibling who drifted away from the family after marriage. I’ve been told he had no children of his own, only step children but need to get it sorted.

    • It’s a shocking business Sheryl. Originally the leases at Cheltenham Cemetery were for 90 years… or it may have been 99 years? This meant they could get away with re-using the graves more easily with fewer close/concerned rellies around to object, I reckon.

  6. So distressing. This is exactly why we decided on cremation when my mother passed away. She had expressed a preference for burial before she died, but then she didn’t know that only leased plots were available. We scattered her ashes on the grave of my grandparents. I really must find out what the status of their plot is.

    • Oh, it is indeed Shelley. Is this common in Victoria too? It’s quite a business keeping up the protection on the “final resting place” of so many loved ones. Good luck with your Grandparents. Have just realised I should sign the lease, for mum and grandpa, over to my daughter now, so there can be no messing with them when I’m gone.

      • This was in the ACT. I looked at the cemeteries website here and it said that plots purchased from 1 July 1996 are in perpetuity – my mother died a few months before that. I asked my Dad about it today and he said no, they had the option for a perpetual plot but both decided on cremation. So now I’m confused about where I got this very distinct memory from! Different versions of family stories… At any rate, I’ve checked and my grandparents’ plot (in Victoria) is in perpetuity.

        I hope you are able to sort out those graves.

  7. How sad, what are we coming to that we can’t respect the dead… we lose not only that ancestral grave but our history… without that, we have no future. I hope you are able to save the resting places that are so important to you.

    • You’re right Chris – it’s not just a personal loss. At a time when we’re finally beginning to respect the history/heritage of our original Australians we’re debasing our own. Something seriously wrong with a society that doesn’t respect it’s dead. Found Baby Crout & got a memorial up for him, also grandpa and now I’ve finally found Eliza Jane (puff puff puff) I’ll not be letting them desecrate her grave without a BIG fight.

  8. It’s wrong isn’t it! Your post has spurred a flurry of emails. I now want to find out the lease period for some of my ancestors and have updated our address for my husbands parents grave. Thanks for your post.

    • Yes it is wrong Sharon. So glad people are checking the safety of their deceased loved ones and hope yours are OK. I’ve just discovered and posted about a SAustralian Draft Burial & Cremation Bill. You can check it out on It would be great if you could pass this on so we can have some change. Cheers and thanks.

  9. Pingback: More Grave Concerns but of the happy kind… | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

  10. Hi Shelley… Thanks for your message and sorry to be slow getting back to you. So pleased your folks are safe. We haven’t been able to have gravesites “in perpuity” in public cemeteries in S.Aust. but I’ve just discovered a “Draft Burial and Cremation Bill 2012” which could change all that providing they get positive feedback. I’ve just posted about it on ie. the post after this 🙂 … it would be great if you’d pass the info on. Need as many people as possible to comment and public consultation finishes next week. I’ve got my fingers crossed (and everything else) …

  11. Pingback: Grave Concerns & shortcuts for commenting…. | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

  12. Hi to everyone who has commented. I’ve just posted another blog titled: “Grave Concerns & shortcuts for commenting…” (or something like that 🙂 … It can be over – whelming to plod through 37pages of “legalese” but this post will make it “eezy peezy”. It can be found on: It’d be great if you’d pass it on. Cheers

  13. Pingback: Grave Concerns Concluded | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

  14. I know how you feel. I worked for many years in a nsw crematorium where children, babies and adults were cremated together for decades. These people were all unrelated. The nsw govt admitted multiple cremations were common practice in nsw for decades before they became illegal. The NSW Govt has rufused to apologise.

    • How shocking Luke!!! … am wondering the period when this was happening and if these people were “paupers” (hate that term) or?… You might like to read a heart-warming story on my post “Bb is for …” which tells about a WONDERFUL man who created a Memorial etc., for babies buried in multiple graves here in South Australia. Gives a bit of a cheer up. Thanks for dropping by and your comment. Catherine.

      • Hi Catherine,

        No these people were not paupers. These familis paid full cost of the cremations.
        There is a pauper section at the crematorium/cemetery were i work and it was over near the cemetery rubbish tip. I know that sounds disgraceful, but there wasn’t much i could do about it.
        The multiple cremations were made illegal in 1987, but i do still hear of it happening today.

      • Oh, this is so terrible Luke. Of course you couldn’t do anything about it!!!
        My paternal Grandmother is buried in “a pauper’s grave” in Nab Wood Cemetery, Yorkshire, England and I’m SO grateful that it’s well tended, cared for and she’s not out “in the back blocks”, next to a rubbish tip.
        Having heaps of trouble keeping my ggrandmother’s Resting in Peace, here in South Australia, and it’s not even a “pauper’s grave”. It’s just that the “lease” has run out, etc. Disgraceful!!!
        Thanks for sharing your story and for caring.

  15. Pingback: LEAVE OUR ANCESTORS ALONE!!! … | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

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