2500 plots in new cemetery’s first stage, but no natural burials

Ian Bushnell 18 February 2020 14
Woden Cemetary

The front entrance to Woden Cemetery, which is fully subscribed. The southside needs an alternative to Gungahlin Cemetery. Photo: File.

The first stage of the proposed new cemetery in Canberra’s south will have 2500 burial plots in a lawn and native garden setting, according to a tender released for the design work.

But despite increasing community calls for cheaper and more environmentally friendly services, there will not be any natural burial plots included in Stage 1 of the Southern Memorial Park (SMP) planned for a 76-hectare site on Long Gully Road.

Stage 1 will also include a 600-800 square metre cremation memorial garden to cater for about 100 memorials and their ashes, although a crematorium on the SMP site is not slated until a future stage to be determined.

SMP will be developed in four stages, spread across 25 years, to service the needs of people in southern Canberra and the wider ACT, now that Woden Cemetry is full.

The tender comes after public consultation in 2018 and a government announcement early last year that the SMP would proceed, although the consultation report has not yet been released.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said at the time that the SMP would provide interment services for the next 100 years and it was essential for the growing Canberra community to have a southside alternative to the Gungahlin Cemetery.

He said the site would also be designed to allow for a second crematorium for Canberra, but the government has since announced that it would this year build a public crematorium alongside the private Norwood Park facility at Mitchell.

SMP location

The location of the proposed Southern Memorial Park (SMP). Photo: Supplied.

In late 2018, the Whitby Group proposed to develop a private funeral home and crematorium in Symonston at the corner of Mugga Lane and Narrabundah Lane that it said would be complementary to the Long Gully Road facility.

The key requirement for the successful tenderer is to revise the 2012 SMP Master Plan and include landscaping, buildings, roads, utilities, concept layout and design, as well as update environmental and heritage reports, and provide an estimate of how much it will cost to deliver Stage 1.

The locations and size of gardens will be based on the revised Masterplan, but they are to be developed with a native theme and be drought resistant.

The garden setting could include higher quality products such as headstones and family estates.

Stage 1 will also include a 100 square metre nature/native-themed playground with a soft fall surface.

The tender documents say the design plan project will establish the minimum requirements for the provision of civil works, utilities, water resources and facilities required for the SMP, with a focus on Stage 1, providing a foundation for the provision of infrastructure to be developed in later stages.

Utilities include mains power, with solar to be explored, and gas for a future crematorium.

“The consultant engaged for this project will workshop the approach to delivering the Masterplan and associated work with Canberra Cemeteries and the project delivery team,” the tender says.

“Consultation with key community representatives and government stakeholders to clarify requirements, review the Masterplan and design proposals, must be undertaken and the outcomes clearly reflected in the final Masterplan and Stage 1 preliminary design.”

The design project is scheduled to be completed in June 2020.


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14 Responses to 2500 plots in new cemetery’s first stage, but no natural burials
Mick Smith Mick Smith 5:25 pm 20 Feb 20

Have youse ever watched the movie ‘Soylent Green’?

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:14 am 21 Feb 20

    I have a copy of it; one of Charlton Heston’s best movies. What they were doing could become the epitome of recycling in the future. I would rename the product “So-long Greens”.

MERC600 MERC600 3:03 pm 20 Feb 20

This would be a real eye opener for those from the inner north who may venture out to see someone off.
Rubbish, rotting roo carcasses and endless trucks trundling past heading to and from the tip..
And if they’re real lucky they will get to get a good whiff from the tip ,as it can get a bit whooffy even down to the Monaro highway.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:01 am 20 Feb 20

Carole Ford, it is a done deal. You were probably not consulted along with thousands of others but the government claims all was above board and their regular consultancy fixer said everyone was happy. Not one MLA contacted residents in the northern Tuggeranong suburbs which may be impacted by this decision.

Carole Ford Carole Ford 7:41 am 20 Feb 20

Are we any nearer to agreeing on a location for a Southside crematorium / natural burial cemetery? The need is there, as our population soars, so does the need for the exit package.

Michael Ward Michael Ward 12:42 pm 19 Feb 20

Did you know they don’t let anyone living in a 10km radius of Woden get buried in that cemetery?

    Phil Andrews Phil Andrews 8:36 pm 19 Feb 20

    Or anybody living outside the 10km radius Michael Ward 🤣

    Bella Twine Bella Twine 9:32 pm 19 Feb 20

    i should hope not its not humane ot legal to bury living people.

Jim Jim Jim Jim 12:06 pm 19 Feb 20

Ah glad to hear the south got a cemetery and chevrons. I mean the north’s got three hospitals, two legs of light rail and a proposed new sports stadium.

Genny Herbert Genny Herbert 11:58 am 19 Feb 20

It’s big business, be creative Canberra heaven forbid 🙏

Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 11:18 am 19 Feb 20

That's a shame. Canberra seems to waste a lot of urban planning opportunities that could bring innovation. Natural burials make a lot sense for a lot of people.

Meryl McKerrow Meryl McKerrow 10:54 am 19 Feb 20

Tender Funerals Canberra Region public interest group

Tan Choi Heng Tan Choi Heng 10:36 am 19 Feb 20

Brad Fraser Hau Le Lachlan Burke Ong Jun Kiat this is urban planning, and land management too.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:20 am 19 Feb 20

This is an appaling site for a cemetry. It is across a very busy road only a few hundred metres from Canberra’s largest and dirtiest permanent industrial site being the MLRMC.

There will be noises and diesel fumes from the hundreds of daily movements of garbage trucks and commercial/private vehicles using all the roads in the area, dust from the building materiels recycling plant, sickening odours from the huge organic recycling factory and 24/7 emissions from the landfill gas electricity generators which are the equivalent of fumes from 24 B Double size prime movers. There are also very large earthmoving machines operating at all hours at the site and these generate large volumes of dust, noise, black smoke and particulate pollution. All this is “garnished” by an eternal adornement of roadside rubbish and road kill kangaroos along Long Gully Road which is one of the busiest and congested link roads in Canberra.

Public consultation for the cemetery/crematorium has been a joke and the MLA’s from all sides of politics who formed the commitee (they probably never even visited the site) to recommend the final approval should hang their heads in shame.

It’s going to be a big 2020 election issue in the suburbs around it.

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