Support

In response to Southern Courier Article 10 May, Mayor supports expansion of Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park
Lyn writes: Posted on 29 Jun 12 at 01:18pm

Paul if we are handing back land then it would go to the Australian Aborigines. The Chinese Gardeners did not take this land from anyone, that happened before their time. They have legal leases and have operated those leases for over 100 years, providing fresh produce to the local region. I think we are lucky to have a culturally significant site such as this where not only the site but the fabric and actual use is still in operation. This is a rare find and we should protect it for everyone in the community, it is wonderful. As for cultures who opt for burial I am one and this will just have to be dealt with in another way. Regardless of our faith, heritage is for everyone and I will not let Eastern Memorial Park use my faith to scare me into supporting their land grab at the expense of these magnificent gardeners and keepers of local heritage. I hope that the Greek, Aboriginal, Jewish and Muslim faiths refuse to be used also. If you want to see how they use the land they already have go down and have a look. They don’t need land, they need management.

Taken shortly after Randwick Councillors voted in favour of rezoning the Gardens RU4 (Agriculture Small Lot)

Historian for Randwick:  Pauline Curby

Sydney-eye Blogspot:  Julie

Letters to Sydney Morning Herald in response to page 3 article 7/1/12:  Growing Vegies becomes a question of Life and Death

11/1/2012

Burning questions of life and death

Doctors can harvest as many of my organs as they want before I’m cremated (Letters, January 10). But it should be compulsory to remove amalgam-filled teeth because cremation releases the mercury into the environment.Thank goodness I won’t feel a thing.David Crommelin Strathfield

Why only land burial or cremation? Why not burial at sea: a cheap canvas bag, a lump of demolition concrete, an old whaler with a ramp at the stern, as frequent as needed trips far enough out with a good load.Enormous saving of fuel over cremation.Jim Henderson Summer Hill

Is the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Trust running out of burial space (”Growing vegies becomes a question of life and death”, January 7-8)? In July last year, in response to my family’s attempt to dispose of three unused burial sites at Botany Cemetery, the trust advised that, since 2004, it had resumed 593 sites in older sections of the cemetery and had onsold only four. Its selling skills obviously need to be sharpened.Maybe the trust should make more of an effort to sell the sites it already has instead of making a grab for the Chinese market gardens.Caroline Moses Katoomba

and one of the many letters in support that wasn’t published:

Randwick Council has been a strong supporter of sustainability initiatives for many years and in Australia’s Year of the Farmer is proposing to rezone the Heritage listed Chinese Market Gardens to ‘small lot rural’ in keeping with current use and with an eye to future community needs. The Gardens are located in floodplain and for this reason a Crown Lands report in 2008 recommended against graves. However the Eastern Suburbs Cemetery Trust believe that they can engineer around the problem and claim 60% of the site. According to Jason Wasiak (SMH 7/1/12), the Trustees also believe that market gardens will not be viable in the long term. The reality is that in urban areas demand for market gardens,community gardens and local fresh vegetable markets is increasing, both in Australia and worldwide. The money that the Trust has allocated for engineering works in the market gardens would be better spent acquiring land on Military Road where the previous State Government allowed zoning for warehousing. If some of this land were used for graves not only would the graves be safe from water inundation but
there would be fewer container trucks impacting funeral corteges and visitors.  Lynda Newnam La Perouse

Living need vegies, dead just a plaque

In the debate as to whether we need to retain a commercial vegetable garden or enlarge a cemetery, the answer seems pretty obvious (”Growing vegies becomes a question of life and death”, January 7-8). In my lifetime the human population of our world has trebled. We’re told that it will double again in the next 30 years. That’s an awful lot of potential dead people. It’s inevitable, isn’t it, that we get out of this habit of using up the earth by burying corpses in it? A cremation (perhaps having first removed any useful organs) and a nice little plaque somewhere seems a lot more sensible. Noel Beddoe Kiama

Like Kevin Eadie (Letters, January 9), I think the state-heritage-listed Chinese market gardens adjacent to the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park at La Perouse should be retained as agricultural land and not subsumed as burial ground. However, the long-term survival of these farms depends on the future replacement of the present Chinese workers, many of whom are immigrants from rural China. What we must not do is to insist on labour-intensive manual practices as part of the place’s significance. We must avoid what the post-colonial cultural theorist Edward Said calls ”orientalism”, where traditional occidental practices are retained simply for the Western gaze. Hendry Wan Rosebery

9/1/2012

Gardens are historical

Forget the Opera House. Sydney’s remnant Chinese market gardens are true Sydney icons (”Growing vegies becomes a question of life and death”, January 7-8). Hard-working immigrant Chinese played a major role in the development of Sydney and the state. Given their present numbers, they will do so again. For more than a decade, my local and overseas tourist guests have marvelled at the beauty of these gardens, always thriving despite the salty sand-soil. The noisy, orange-breasted native parrots are a delightful bonus. Captain Phillip drew his first fresh water from the site, and there are remnants of Sydney’s huge electric tramway network right outside the gate. History is where you look for it. The La Perouse Chinese garden must be saved.

Kevin Eadie Drummoyne

The Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park should not be in a position where it is running out of space and attempting to take over land from the Chinese gardens. Why didn’t the trust object when huge warehouses were erected adjacent to the cemetery? These buildings cover a vast amount of space and are often deserted and up for lease. In addition to occupying what, with foresight, could have been burial ground, they are a mammoth eyesore when viewed from inside the cemetery. Why interfere with the Chinese gardens and spend vast amounts of money trying to reclaim a flood plain for burials when it is the warehouses that should be removed thus allowing the cemetery to continue naturally up to Bunnerong Road. Helen Francey Phillip Bay

The conundrum is not ”should open land be used to bury the dead or to feed the living”. It is why don’t we do both? I can think of little better use for my carcass than as nutrient for a nice bed of eggplants. Paul van Reyk Petersham

Letters in response to Southern Courier article: 15 November 2010

Sheila Fielding writes:
Posted on 21 Nov 10 at 07:54amI am absolutely appalled by Father Ceresoli’s comments on the need to acquire two thirds of the market garden adjacent to Botany Cemetry. Surely the needs of the living require more respect than the dead. All faiths, I understand, believe that the soul leaves the body on death and what is left is a shell or husk, of no value. Why then must valuable arable land be sacrificed for something of no value? The maket gardens are more sacred and precious to life than a memorial to a dead person, soon forgot in the passage of time. But market gardens, properly nurtured, live on in perpetuity to feed the living. If some people must be buried, recycle the burial sites of people long gone and forgotten. Please leave our market garden alone!Pushing up Daisies writes:
Posted on 18 Nov 10 at 09:49amI apprecialte the sanctify of a Christian burial… but do not feel we should bury our living history – the Chinese market gardens – to extend the present cemetry. Why do cemetries have to be so huge – why not create smaller cemetries in each suburb – these could double as pleasant parkland and easier accessiblity to visit. Leave our veggie patches alone and pull down some eyes-sores instead.. We would remember and honour our deceased more if they were buried among us. Even back to church yards – am sure there are heaps of sites that could be adapted.Cassandra French writes:
Posted on 16 Nov 10 at 04:11pmI absolutely support keeping the market gardens in Botany and believe the church should be planning on finding alternative space to bury their dead. These gardens are of high heritage value with enormous cultural and historical significance to this city and this should be protected, by our government. Ironically, this should also be protected by the very churches that wish to destroy them. It is absurd to consider future expansion for any inner city cemeteries because there is a need to continue planting bodies and a growing shortage of land. These Chinese market gardens were established before any dead were buried in the nearby cemetary. They are viable and successful, supplying many nearby restaurants and greengrocers, as well as selling produce at Flemington Markets. What is of more value here? Planting bodies over parsley – I think keep planting the parsley and in 12 years time when the land out at Botany is full of hundreds more dead bodies, than it is time to stop burying. Maintain and protect the market gardens which sustain life and reflect the history of our city. It is outrageous to be pressured by powerful religious bodies greedily eyeing off the neighbours plot.

THIS COMMENTS FROM DOUGLAS LAM AT A CHINESE HERITAGE BLOG:

Re: Chinese market gardens in Sydney under threat
« Reply #1 on Aug 2, 2010, 5:39am »
I visited this market garden about this time last year. I was appearing in a local TV drama as an extra. The shooting was done in the shed whuch was set up as a gambling den in Thailand, with people betting on a thingyroach race. The market garden is a peaceful retreat in a shallow valley under the flight path. It is simply a delightful place. I love it. What is there to stop the extension to consume the whole place one day? The market garden is for the living, and providing food for the living. Where are the planners’ sense of priority? I knew the Ha family, the owners, casually. They are a very prominent family from Gao Yiu. I saw the children ( all Australian born), the present owners matured before my eyes when I was working in Chinatown through the 1980s. They were my customers. And I bumped into them often. Please sign the on line petition. It deserves our support. Douglas

Comments from THE LAND on-line July 2010

Cremate people. Leave the land for farming!
Posted by The Differentiator, 30/07/2010 10:54:34 AM, on The Land

And there are still people who think farming is not a skill. As if coaxing a living from such a small piece of land is something any old urban punter could do. The farming community is being marginalised because farming is not recognised as a skill in the migrant entry system. They’ll give points for hairdressers, cooks, and park rangers, for fox ache, but real farmers, like the ones that have already proven to be the most successfully integrated of all in rural communities all over the country, get Buckley’s chance. So much for a non-discriminatory immigration program that meets the needs of the community.
Posted by Ian Mott, 30/07/2010 11:43:00 AM, on The Land

And what about the heritage listing? Or are the rules for Sydney different to the rest of the state?
Posted by daw, 30/07/2010 10:14:50 PM, on The Land

Leave the Chinese farmers alone! They too were upon the first settlers, the first farmers here in Australia. They have their private property rights. Cremate the people!
Posted by CateS, 30/07/2010 11:27:54 PM, on The Land

Leave this heritage-listed land to do what it does best, producing food for Sydney’s population. No one wants their dearly departed buried in a former swamp.
Posted by DLK, 9/08/2010 8:52:51 AM, on The Land

Food security is a major issue with the pressures of climate change and population growth threatening to overpower our ability to feed ourselves. We must initiate a Sydney food security master plan soon a possible. We must secure all existing arable land in the greater Sydney region for the purpose of producing food. The La Perouse market Gardens are a prime example of that kind of land which has a 78 year history of growing food for Sydney. Posted by GJOESQ, 9/08/2010 10:54:06 AM, on The Land

Letters 22 October 2008 in response to Sydney Morning Herald article: 

A resource for the living

It is misleading for George Passas of the Botany Cemetery Trust to play off “migrant and religious communities” against supporters of the Chinese market gardens in La Perouse (“Gardeners suddenly at centre of a plot”, October 21). The market gardens occupy floodplain and the land is unsuitable for grave sites. They provide food to local outlets and therefore contribute to the reduction in food miles. In 1999 they were listed on the NSW State Heritage Register in recognition of their many historical and social values. Because of poor planning by the State Government, cemetery visitors compete with an expanding port. At times there have been queues of semi-trailers winding back along Bunnerong Road to the cemetery’s main entrance. If Mr Passas was serious about providing grave sites, he would lobby the Government for space that is occupied by empty containers.    Lynda Newnam La Perouse

Why does Botany Cemetery feel it has greater rights over the market gardens than those who have nurtured the land for two generations? Much of this valuable farmland has disappeared over the past 60 years, yet it provides the majority of the fresh vegetables that Sydney takes for granted (100 per cent of leafy greens and Asian leafy vegetables, for example). Once the lands are lost, the ever declining agricultural resources of the Sydney Basin get pushed ever westwards, away from the city that needs them to nourish it. Jeremy Gill Naremburn

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  1. Hendry Wan said:

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