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”.
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.
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.
“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”.