Group seeks land to offer natural burial alternative

Headshot of Pierra Willix
Pierra WillixAugusta Margaret River Times
Email Pierra Willix
Death and Dying Matters members Anita Haywood and Mary Flynn say a natural burial ground in the region would give people an alternative, environmentally friendly burial option.
Camera IconDeath and Dying Matters members Anita Haywood and Mary Flynn say a natural burial ground in the region would give people an alternative, environmentally friendly burial option. Credit: Pierra Willix

With a growing population and space restraints in cemeteries across the country, a Margaret River-based group is proposing a natural burial ground be established in the region for those who want to be buried in an environmentally friendly way.

Established earlier this year by Mary Flynn, the Death and Dying Matters group is working to create conversations about death and grief in the community, with one if its subgroups — Burial Options now looking to obtain a donation of land in their quest to establish the alternative burial ground.

Led by Anita Haywood, the sub-group together looked into alternative burial options, which came just as the Shire of Augusta Margaret River was looking into its Cemeteries Local Law Review, with submissions open until May 10.

A natural burial site is where a deceased person’s body can be buried in a shallow grave to speed up the decomposition process.

About a year after the burial, small native shrubs or bushes are planted to encourage revegetation of the earth and for birds and fauna to inhabit.

In time the area becomes a natural memorial where loved ones can reflect in peace and nature.

With natural burial grounds and eco-friendly coffins available in Perth, the group is hoping to allow people in the region to have the same options when organising a burial.

It is calling on either the Shire or a landowner to consider the proposal and donate land. The idea is for a parcel of bushland to be allocated for the space, and following in the steps of other natural burial grounds in other States, a GPS tracker would be used to identify where people were buried rather than traditional headstones.

Shire sustainable development acting director Nick Logan said there were currently two cemeteries in the Shire, in Margaret River and Karridale, and that there was capacity in both of these cemeteries in the medium term, and that the Shire was currently undertaking longer-term evaluation of burial needs.

”The Shire has met and had discussions with the Death and Dying Matters group but hasn’t received any proposals for a particular location,” he said.

“Upon receipt of such a proposal, council would consider a decision based on a full assessment of the location and associated issues.”

The next Death and Dying Matters public meeting will be held on May 18 at 2 pm at Old Chapel, Margaret River Community Centre.

For more information, contact maryflynn717@gmail.com

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