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Byron Shire
August 5, 2021

Byron to get a natural burial ground

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Want to be buried in a Byron natural burial ground? Photo supplied.

The Byron Shire is set to finally get its own natural burial ground, with Council formally setting aside land near Mullumbimby for this purpose.

More than 20 years after the idea was first raised by members of the community, councillors voted to designate land near the Brunswick Valley Sewage Treatment Plant on Vallance’s Road for the burial ground at its last meeting.

Sustainable burial means that, rather than being buried in a fancy lacquered coffin, or contributing to carbon emissions through cremation, a person is buried naturally in a simple coffin that degrades easily.

They are also buried closer to the surface than in a conventional burial process, so that plants, grass and trees can more easily access the nutrients released by the body during decomposition.

Byron Council staff argued against the location of the natural burial ground at Vallances Road site.

They said that this would create flood and access issues, and was incompatible with other potential land use options for the site.

However, councillors disagreed.

They told staff to work with members of the community-based Natural Burial Committee to support their development application for the burial ground.

They further allocated $15,000 in the 2021/22 budget to assist the committee in their work.

Currently, about 80 per cent of people in Australia are cremated – a process that produces about 160kg of carbon into the atmosphere, as well as dioxins and heavy metals like mercury.

Conventional cemetery burials have an even greater impact on the environment because the process of embalming the body involves the use of formaldehyde – a known carcinogen that seeps into groundwater and the atmosphere.

The wooden coffin is usually lacquered, plastic lined and held together with toxic glues.

Furthermore, most modern headstones are made from granite shipped from China.


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  1. I am involved in making memorials for cemeteries.
    I know quite a bit about the funeral business.
    Extremely few people get embalmed. Quite rare actually.
    I can’t understand why it even gets a mention in the article.
    Most people are just put in a coffin and buried.

  2. Forgot to add – granite is quarried all over the world and plenty is quarried in Australia.
    Over half the granite I make headstones from is Australian stone.
    It depends on the stone colour that people choose to have it made from.
    I can’t see what point is being made here. Australian Monumental Masons are involved in all aspects of creating a permanent marker – just like the Egyptians did.
    Lasting thousands of years. What is wrong about that? It has great meaning for the relatives of the person who has passed away.
    It is a physical focal point for remembrance for families – and exists in nearly all cultures worldwide.
    Should people die and be forgotten completely?

    • You protest too much. No surprise there being in the business.
      Granite headstones are extravagant and narcissistic.

    • My grandfather chose to be buried without a headstone, in a natural bushland park in Western Australia, many years ago. There is a plaque in the ground, that can easily be mowed over, though I believe the kangaroos do most of the mowing,. I am not sure why 7 billion people need to be remembered for thousands of years. A hundred? yes….


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