1,000 signatures reached
To: Waverley Council
Save Waverley Cemetery
To the Councillors of Waverley
Waverley Cemetery is the most inspirational heritage cemetery in Australia. Please ensure it can be self sustaining for another century by implementing all four of these essential and long overdue initiatives:
(1) Build a pavilion in the Cemetery's central eastern gully for undercover funerals and other cemetery related services including a cafe.
(2) Secure the Cemetery at night with sound, cost-effective and durable fencing appropriate to the heritage significance and dignity of this utterly unique and beautiful national icon. The only fencing that would meet all these requirements is Centennial Park style sandstone pillars and wrought iron. This should be installed immediately along Boundary Street, Trafalgar Street and Fig Tree Lane.
(3) Create much needed new ash niche space in the sandstone perimeter fence pillars along Boundary Street and Trafalgar Street to replenish exhausted supplies of niches and to recover the cost of the fence.
(4) Create new memorial gardens on the roof of the new pavilion in the Cemetery's central gully and along the grass verge on the Trafalgar Street side.
All four initiatives are required to save the cemetery, not just one or two. If all four initiatives are implemented the Cemetery will be able to replace and increase the income streams it will otherwise lose. Please maximise the chances of the Cemetery remaining as beautiful as it is now, or better, by committing immediately to all four aspects of this genuine solution for sustainability.
These actions will ensure you can meet your responsibilities as custodians of our cultural heritage. Nothing less will suffice.
Why is this important?
Waverley Cemetery is a unique national heritage and cultural icon at a turning point. It has always been a self-sustaining not-for-profit operation, ploughing whatever surpluses it can achieve back into site maintenance and improvement. Its financial future is now very uncertain because demand for traditional burial space in graves is dropping in Australia and the Cemetery can no longer expect to be able to rely entirely on sales of graves. On the good side, demand for undercover funerals and different ash interment options is increasing.
To survive, the Cemetery needs to change the way it does business. It needs to diversify its services to include undercover funeral facilities, a cafe, flower and gift sales, family history searches, curatorial and conservation services, visitor information and facilities, tour guidance, cultural forums and research, small scale concert programs, recreational walking paths, educational programs, volunteer involvement, new types of ash interment, and new artistic memorial options.
This diversified business model is necessary to ensure the Cemetery has a genuinely viable and secure future for the long term and can sustain itself without having to rely on ad hoc and inevitably inadequate grants. It is essential to ensure the Cemetery is not lost as it ages and that its maintenance costs will be properly and fairly provided for rather than loaded unnecessarily onto Waverley ratepayers or future generations.
In 2013 Waverley Council resolved to develop a holistic vision for the future of the Cemetery via proper consultation with the community and all interested parties in Waverley Cemetery. However, the Council has since failed to implement this resolution, is delaying investment in urgently needed infrastructure renewal, and appears to be taking no viable action to Save Waverley Cemetery for the long term. Instead, the Council appears to be implementing no more than a few make-shift changes which are adding nothing to the capacity of the Cemetery to achieve sustainability. Some of these actions may actually diminish the chances of achieving long term sustainability and conservation of the Cemetery.
Irreplaceable heritage within the Cemetery has already been lost. Save Waverley Cemetery advocates that this loss can be suspended and even reversed, at no cost to the ratepayers of Waverley, if the Council develops a comprehensive vision and sound business plans for its operations and invests in the infrastructure necessary for implementation of new competitive cemetery and funeral services.
The videos below show both the beauty and the plight of Waverley Cemetery and how it can be saved.
Heritage cemeteries throughout the world and in other parts of Sydney have implemented these new approaches to business as a matter of course. Why not Waverley? Doesn't this true flagship of Australian cultural heritage deserve better?