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Map of the Botany cemetery and Bumborah Point (furthest vegetation on bottom left) which is included in Botany Cemetery expansion plans. Source: Supplied

FIRST it was the 150-year-old, heritage-listed Chinese Market Gardens. Now the Botany Cemetery has set its sights on using Aboriginal-significant land for its expansion plans.

In addition to using roads on the western and southern boundaries of the cemetery for burial use, the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) has proposed to acquire part of Bumborah Point.

The land is south of the cemetery on the coast and is rec­orded as “containing Abo­riginal shelters, middens and rock engravings”.

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Botany cemetery has proposed to secure land at Bumborah Point for its expansion. Source: News Limited

Chris Ingrey, chief executive of La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council said it was ­“highly likely” Aboriginal people were buried on this land.

“Bumborah Point is significant to the Aboriginal community, and the land council has a cultural and legal interest in the site,” he said.

“Culturally, it’s highly likely any midden on a coastline is a burial site.”

The expansion plans avoid encroaching on the previously sought market gardens – “subject to Randwick Council’s cooperation to assist” in gaining the newly-flagged land.

 

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Randwick Greens councillor Murray Matson has fought to protect the Chinese Market Gardens from a cemetery expansion. Picture: John Appleyard Source: News Corp Australia

While the Trust has no ownership or approvals to use the market gardens for burial use, it was granted a licence over one of the lots, owned by Crown Land, in 2010 to investigate if the land was feasible for use.

A Save the La Perouse Market Gardens spokesperson said the decision by Crown Lands to hand management directly to the Trust had delivered a valuable ‘bargaining chip’ which the Trust is now playing in its claim for public land around Bumborah Point.

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Chinese Market Gardens near Botany cemetery. Photograph Desmond Ong

“It is time that we identify a date by which Botany cemetery is officially designated as full and closed to the use of new burials”.

“This will then require a recognition that a new site has to be found elsewhere in Sydney,” Cr Matson said.

Randwick deputy mayor ­Anthony Andrews said the proposal was a “win-win” for the community. “We will maintain our market gardens but also ­address the issue of shortage of burial spaces.”

Chief executive of SMCT, Graham Boyd, said he wasn’t able to comment on the proposal, because of “protocol policy reasons”.

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