Memorials ready to be crushed for roadworks. Karakatta Cemetery, WAustralia

Memorials ready to be crushed for roadworks. Karakatta Cemetery, WAustralia

Is anyone out there maybe suggesting that I’m “obsessive”?

I confess, I give up… I am

Regular readers would no doubt remember my outrage at the “re-cycling” of cemetery plots here in South Australia and the horror at the very likely possibility that my precious Great Grandmother would be dug up.  You can read about it HERE

My next post was full of excitement as I explained that the South Australian Govern-ment had just released a “Draft Burial and Cremation 2012” Bill was and asking for comments, and suggestions, from the general public and not just from those with an invested interest.On accessing the Draft Bill my head was turned inside out with the “legalese” but plodded on and so posted “Shortcuts for Commenting” to give a bit of a “leg up” to anyone else thinking of putting in a submission.

My final post expressed both surprise, and delight, in having managed to completed this somewhat onerous task and offered to email copies of my submission, if requested.

The good news is that the new “South Australian Burial and Cremation” Bill has now passed it’s “2nd reading” in the House of Assembly with the next debate in just a few days time, Tuesday 5 Mar 2013.  Fingers crossed that we may finally have some effective legal protection for our Ancestors, their remains, their gravesites and memorials. Will post the outcome as soon as it comes to hand.


CrissouliSadly all this good news, and hopeful thinking, was somewhat shot down in flames just a few days ago when Crissouli on her Blog, That Moment in Time, alerted us to the wanton destruction and desecration of gravesites in Western Australia.  Please click HERE to read her post and  see many photos of exactly what is going on there.  It’s hard to believe that such beautiful and spiritual, stone monuments are being gathered up and crushed for “road works”, often without relatives being informed.

Published in the “Subiaco Post” on 1 May 2006 is Ms Allchurch’s horror, and continuing anguish,  on discovering that the joint grave of her much loved Great Grand-mother, Grandmother, Aunt and mother had been destroyed, despite written assurances from the Western Australian Metropolitan Cemeteries Board that she’d receive notification if any changes were proposed.

Cemetery desecration. Karakatta WA

Cemetery desecration. Karakatta WA.2.

Makes you feel helpless, doesn’t it.  Thanks to Sandra Playle there is a Petition you can sign to add your voice to the voices of others demanding that authorities STOP desecrating the final resting places of our Ancestors, destroying their monuments and discarding any physical memory of them just like so much flotsam and jetsam.

On 24 Feb 2013 Sandra wrote:

“By the MCB’s admission there is around 80% cremations so I fail to understand the reasoning for renewal. I have always advocated that the cemetery be:

(a) Closed for new graves.

(b) Open for burial in existing raves ie; family in with family to the limit of three as has been the practise.

(c) Open for cremations and the scattering/placement of ashes.

(d) If they must insist on new graves then the existing headstones stay insitu and the new ones are made SMALLER to fit in the area between. This would mean the surrounds would have to go from existing graves.”

Once upon a time, the general public had trouble making their collective voice heard but technology, and the “social media” has changed all that.  I urge you to sign the petitioon and pass the message on via any medium at your disposal: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest etc.

You may think that Western Australia is much too far from you for your voice to make any difference, but it will, indeed it will.  International exposure can work wonders in this “Global Community” of ours and tomorrow it could be your Ancestor’s gravesite being destroyed, or you child, or your brother/ sister’s …

If you wish to sign the petition, just click HERE

Finally, I must share Crissouli’s beautiful poem which reaches into my very soul.


I went to visit Grandma
Her stone it wasn’t there
I thought I made an error
But I did look everywhere
It was then I noticed rubble
Right against the fence
And a dumpster full of rubbish
It really was quite dense.
Then I saw my Grandma’s name
As if she was calling me
“Please help me darling granddaughter
Will you please help me be free
For crushing is the next step
Road base they say they need
  I suspect that is just a cover up
It all comes down to greed.
The land here’s rather valuable
I heard the workmen say
My lovely stone you saved for
Will be destroyed today.”
(c) Crissouli

Memorials in the dumpster with all the rubbish and ready for crushing...

Memorials in the dumpster with all the rubbish and ready for crushing…

“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high deeds.” – William Gladstone


Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

24 thoughts on “LEAVE OUR ANCESTORS ALONE!!! …

    • Oh, it is indeed Julie. However we’re calling out for people all across the world to sign the petition and maybe they will stop it! … I understand that the next Cemetery under threat is the historic Fremantle Cemetery. Just too terrible to contemplate. Thanks for caring and commenting.

      • I have signed the petition. I am within the next week or so going to write my next article for Graveyard Rabbit – History Hare which is not technically due until July. I think that I may feature this subject. I will see if I can get it published a little earlier as there are often dates in the schedule. If you have anything in particular you want me to mention drop me a message!

      • Thanks SO much Julie for signing the petition and how wonderful that you’re considering writing an article for “The Graveyard Rabbit – History Hare”. Brilliant!

        The people best able to provide valuable info are:
        Sandra Playle fedelmar@hotmail.com
        Craig Hyde craih91@bigpond.com
        The FaceBook page: “Saving our Graves” is also a great source of info and photos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/133954763444789/

        Thanks again, so much, and don’t hesitate contacting me again for further info, thoughts etc. Cheerio for now…

      • Fantastic Work Julie… I’m amazed and SO grateful to all who have signed the petition and passed the message on through Blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Wonderful to know that so many people care and are willing to take action. Thanks again.

      • Social media is indeed wonderful Jule… this would be a good example for Jill, I reckon. Thanks again. Looking forward to the Graveyard Rabbit’s publication. I might just have to join that organisation, I’m thinking…

  1. You in Western Australia are having quite a rough go of it with trying to preserve your cemeteries. It’s sad to contemplate that they can be destroyed so easily and it really seems like a desecration to me. I signed the petition. I hope it helps!

    • Thanks you SO very much Nancy… be assured that every signature counts and especially from people overseas whom may think that their “vote” counts for nothing. Here in Oz, it certainly does. Wonderful to get support from the USA and thanks again. Will do follow up posts as this “pans out”.

  2. Catherine, thank you for sharing this news, sad as it is… We must unite and scream from the hilltops, we cannot let this wanton destruction of memorials continue!

    As if I wasn’t incensed enough, to read that comment from Steve James that if the husband, who was the ‘historic’ person, was also buried in that grave, the memorial would have been preserved, shows you just what kind of blatant disregard there still exists…

    I am happy for anyone to repost my blog providing they give all the details and credits that I have given and you have here .Well done

    Fellow bloggers, please help, by signing the petition and referring to all that has been written about this travesty.

    Thank you, Catherine… let’s work to keep our loved ones safe…

    • Thank *you* so much Chris… Oh yes, it’s imperative that people pull together and speak with one voice to get this horrific sacrilege STOPPED… and right now.

      I agree that the comment from Steve James, of the MCB, that the husband/ man is the “historic person” and so his grave should be retained is almost unbelievable in this day and age. I can feel my Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth (Murray, Evans) Allan, who was a very brave, courageous and hard- working woman spinning in her grave!!!

      The sharing of info, linking blogs, facebooking, tweeting and retweeting has been amazing. Lets all keep at it and get a surge of signatures on that petition that will make those few MCB members sit up, take notice and stop this!

  3. I remember being horrified when I read your original posts about this. Thanks for the update and information about the petition. I hope this helps to preserve your cemeteries.

    • Yes, I remember Sheryl and many thanks for your interest and comments. This is so very much appreciated as is your signature on the petition. No doubt the MCB will not like close scrutiny, and criticism, from folks overseas…absolutely not!!!

      I was going to take a trip into Parliament House tomorrow/ this morning to listen to continuing debate on the new South Australian “Burial and Cremation Bill 2012” but am fearful my Blood Pressure may shoot through the roof 😦 … so better I read it in Hansard. Cheerio, for now.

  4. Yes thanks for the update Catherine, I am now off to sign the petition. I prefer the words “very passionate” rather than “obsessive” 🙂 I hope to do a quick post myself with links to yours and Crissouli’s posts.

  5. How terrible! Poor Lorraine Allchurch.

    Pardon me if this sounds ludicrous, but why recycle graves? Is there not enough land to bury people’s loved ones?

    • Oh indeed, JG 😦 … Not ludicrous at all. Of course there’s HEAPS of land in Australia to bury our dead and to leave the sanctity of their gravesites intact.

      Recycling of graves is all about money! … The graves under threat, both in Western Australian and my own state of South Australia, are old and so are situated in inner- city suburbs. They can’t expand, it’s expensive real estate and it takes money to mantain heritage sites, like graves… so, for some, this is the solution. For others, it’s all about personal gain 😦

      Thanks for caring, commenting and signing the petition. Greatly appreciated!

  6. Pingback: Sentimental Sunday: Grave concerns in Western Australia… | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

  7. Pingback: Sentimental Sunday: … defiled, desecrated and destroyed. | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

    • Thank you Anne. I haven’t done a great job at keeping it alive lately, but I hope to find more time and focus to blog moreAppreciate your comment and re-blogging.

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