Burying the truth of death under the bland and the ugly – Elizabeth Farrelly, SMH 25 October 2012
Illustration: Edd Aragon
And they’re greedy. In death as in life, they sprawl. Sydney ”will run out of burial space by 2035,” Alan Jones insisted as he lobbied the airwaves for Botany Cemetery’s right to grab a further 60 per cent of the adjoining market garden where brothers Gordon and Terry Ha grow their coriander and bok choy. But why prioritise the dead over the living? Bad enough for housing to sprawl over food security, but graves? Hello? Jones berates the gardeners for taking water from the aquifer, but seems fine with bodies leaching into it. What’s wrong with doubling up? Stacking? Churning? Densification? What about recycling? Crop rotation? If graves must have food-land, why shouldn’t food have old grave land? Natural burial, where people are buried coffinless to encourage bio-degradation, sometimes with a seedling in their mouth, is impossible in most Australian cemeteries.
I’m coming round to Halloween. Continue reading