Sydney burials assured for 30 years

April 2, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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3,000 burial plots for the Jewish community have been announced at a new section at Sydney’s Rookwood Cemetery by the NSW Minister for Primary Industry Katrina Hodgkinson.

Minister Katrina Hodgkinson with Yair Miller 2nd from right pic: Henry Benjamin


The area will be shared with the Muslim community and its announcement  represents the most significant cemeteries reform “the State has seen in 150 years” according to the Minister.

The Muslim community plans to bury two to a grave essentially creating a joint allocation of 9,000 burial spots.

Former president of the The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies David Knoll told J-Wire: “This is the first time in 160 years the community has received an official formal allocation from the Government. Two years ago we secured a further 500 plots at Botany but now the community has burial space available until 2040.”

The reform has been made workable by the reduction of cemetery trusts from seven to two. One trust will cover the Catholic community and the Anglican, General, Independent, Muslim and Jewish trusts have combined to form the other. David Knoll explained that the combined trust has assets of over $70 million and allows Government to deal with two bodies instead of seven.

Knoll commended Jewish Cemetery Trust chairman Jack Fisher for  the work he has done and said that although the Trust’s name may change, a committee would be created to supervise Jewish assets.

The new cemetery is a fair distance from the existing Jewish area and is not expected to see its first burial for around three years. Knoll explained: “There is a great deal of preparatory work to be done such as drainage. Apart from that, the Muslim community is in a much more serious position than we are and we are happy for those responsible for the preparation of the site for consecration to give priority to them.”

He added that all the communities had worked “wonderfully well” together.

The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller said: “This is a big step forward. We still have some time in the current location but the Trust will have to make plans for the new section given that it is not close to our existing area. The average number of Jewish deaths in NSW is about 350 per year. David Knoll represents our community on the current advisory board which is being restructured and has done an excellent job in assuring that the Jewish community has had a voice in the wider cemeteries arena.”

Miller paid tribute to the State Government for their effort to “bring the solution to a crisis for so many communities to the table and to resolve so effectively and quickly.”



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