Varraville proposed as new Jewish cemetery

March 26, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The CEO of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies has addressed Independent Planning Commission on the need to establish a cemetery at Varroville near Campbelltown.

 

Vorroville Map: Whereis

Varoville is 46kms from the CBD.

 

Vic Alhadeff told the Commission: “The NSW Jewish community faces a critical shortage of burial space in Sydney. We are due to run out of burial space within approximately five years.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has worked in active consultation with the current and previous NSW governments to respectfully ensure all faith communities that require permanent burial capabilities, such as the Jewish and Muslim communities, remain able to do so. It is imperative that new cemetery space be approved to continue providing this critical social infrastructure to meet the needs of Sydney’s growing communities for the next 100 years.

Vic Alhadeff

Several potential cemetery spaces in NSW have not come to fruition, and the approximate six-year lead-time in finding appropriate land and making it available for burial has compounded the urgency of the situation for the Jewish community. It is noted that Macarthur Memorial Park has been in discussions for the past 5 years, and a DA has yet to be approved.

The Jewish community seeks the right to continue to bury its dead in a lawful and dignified manner in accordance with Jewish religious law and practice. Varroville is the only viable option on the horizon.

On present estimates, without approval of this development application, by approximately 2024 – just five years away – there will be no available graves available for sale for Jewish burial at any of the cemeteries where land is currently consecrated for Jewish burial. As you would be aware, the Jewish faith forbids cremation, and requires permanent and perpetual burial.

The Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust’s development proposal to establish a new multi-faith cemetery and parklands at 176 St Andrews Rd, Varroville, is the only viable option to us.

We acknowledge the need to balance heritage concerns with the need for burial space, and we support the proposed site exemptions to allow the cemetery to proceed, and to facilitate the offsets required by the Conservation Management Plan.

There is no incompatibility between approving the cemetery proposal and protecting the homestead outbuildings, dams, vineyards and original driveway, and the historic value of Varroville House.

The construction of a multi-faith cemetery is the most sympathetic proposal available to the community to retain the significant history of the property. We believe there will be no visual impact on views to and from the property, as the monumentalisation is minimal, low-height and sympathetically incorporated into the landscape. In addition, recreational space for the community covering around one-third of the site is included in the proposal. This will include historical walks and interpretations commemorating the rich Aboriginal and European history of the site and an art and sculpture walk.

The Jewish community appreciates the heritage concerns, but urgently seeks the right to bury at Varroville. We seek a sensible balance between heritage concerns and the right to bury.”

David Knoll told J-Wire that Varoville would provide enough space to accommodate the community’s needs until the end of the century.

Comments

One Response to “Varraville proposed as new Jewish cemetery”
  1. Jacqui Kirkby says:

    The proposed Varroville cemetery is in an Environmental Protection area loved by the local Macarthur community of Sydney who are devastated by this proposal. My husband and I are among them. We own a state heritage listed house (Varro Ville Homestead) that will be completely surrounded by it, destroying its significance and value. Across the road from the cemetery are two Carmelite monasteries where the nuns have followed a life of prayer supporting the many who seek their help, and the friars run a Retreat Centre where many vulnerable people seek solace and restitution. The nuns and friars have both publicly stated that their way of life and service to the community will be finished if this cemetery proceeds. The land has been rated as state and nationally significant, and its use as a cemetery is opposed by key state heritage bodies: the National Trust of Australia (NSW), the Australian Garden History Society and Historic Houses Association.

    Burial is a minority cultural practice in Australia. We support the right of the Jewish and other communities to this practice but not where it will destroy Australia’s cultural heritage, destroy other cultural or religious practices or cause harm to others. The Jewish community shouldn’t either.

    Jacqui Kirkby, Convenor, Scenic Hills Association

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