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Byron Shire
March 29, 2023

Byron Council seeking land offers for natural burial ground

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Byron Council will publicly invite local landowners to put forward space that could be purchased by, or donated to, the Council for use as a natural burial ground in a bid to revive the project.

With the previous plan to build the coffin and chemical-free burial ground on Vallance’s Road Mullumbimby falling over, the Council had turned its attention to locating the burial ground in an existing cemetery.

The Bushland Cemetery at Goonellabah is a natural burial ground and a welcome addition to the Lismore community. Photo Tree Faerie.

The two sites under consideration are the Mullumbimby cemetery and the Clunes cemetery.

However, community members involved in the project say the burial ground should be placed in a more natural environment.

‘We want a nature reserve for burials with trees and grass and no tombstones,’ former councillor and natural burial ground advocate, Jeanette Martin said.

‘An existing cemetery isn’t going to give us the aesthetic that’s required for this to be successful.’

The advocates also argue that Clunes is too far away.

‘As much as Clunes is a beautiful place and is part of the Shire, I think most local people would feel that the natural burial ground should be located closer to the heart of the Shire,’ Green Councillor Duncan Dey said.

He proposed a third option, which was to seek private land through an expression of interest process by which landowners could offer to donate or sell their land to the Council.

‘It may come up with the perfect site, it may come up with no sites at all,’ Cr Dey said.

‘But I think it’s worth giving it a go anyway.’

Cr Dey put forward three draft criteria as a starting point for determining whether a site is appropriate to host the burial ground or not.

This includes that the land be near bushland, have safe and convenient road access and that it feature soil that is suitable to promote decomposition and recycling of bodies.

The motion was passed unanimously.

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  1. I recently attended a funeral of a dear long time friend on the Sunshine Coast at Eumundi Cementry where a natural burial ground has been created in the bush land behind the existing cemetery area with gravestones. Was so very beautiful to see this had happened.
    Perhaps there are existing cemeteries in the Shire that have enough area with bushland to create this also? Just my thoughts


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