A Perth resident has claimed an Act giving cemeteries permission to remove headstones and lay grass over burial plots after a grave lease has expired in Perth cemeteries is “disgraceful”.
Carol Trigwell is angry about the Act after she discovered grass would be laid over her father’s burial plot, an act of disservice after he served Australia in World War II.
“My dad was a World War II veteran and Australia repaid him by, they were going to take his headstone and grass over his plot,” Mrs Trigwell said.
“He fought in the second World War, spent two years in New Guinea to be treated like that.”
“It’s just not right.”
Mrs Trigwell said it was a common occurrence.
“This is just my story,” she said.
“There are so many other people with stories the same.”
Individuals are granted a 25 year lease for a burial, which can be renewed on application to the board for another 25 year term.
If the tenure lapses, it is at the discretion of the Metropolitan Cemetery Board to grant a new 25 year lease.
It is believed the headstones are removed to create room for new burial plots.
“The graves and the bodies were never touched, but if the tenure runs out on them, the headstone is removed and the graves are grassed over,” Mrs Trigwell said.
“The headstone as far as I know, you have a certain time limit to go get them, the family.”
“If you don’t go get them, I’m not sure what happens to them after that.”
Mrs Trigwell said laying grass over burial plots was not the answer and there were better ways.
“Build a new cemetery,” she said.
“They could put bodies in the walkways alongside the existing headstones, don’t touch them and put little slimmer headstones with them.”
However, she said a discussion should take place and families with relatives in cemeteries should be considered first.
“There should be a compromise. I think taking headstones should be the last resort.”