New Sydney cemetery approved to meet critical shortage of burial plots

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Macarthur Memorial Park is an innovative, sustainable and multi-denominational memorial and parkland destination, designed to honour life, culture and community. The NSW Independent Planning Commission recommended the new Crown cemetery for approval in July 2019. It will be the first cemetery built in Sydney in over 50 years.

The memorial park will be Australia’s first technologically integrated and green-star rated cemetery. It will be distinctly landscaped over 113 hectares of green space. The public space will be open to all and feature stunning architecturally designed chapels, a world-class sculpture walk, water features, cafe and a vineyard.

Community leaders have welcomed the approved development of the new multi-faith cemetery on the outskirts of Sydney to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and diverse multi-cultural population.

Camden is the fastest growing area in NSW with a 157% population increase within the next 20 years, growing from 88,258 in 2017 to 226,604 in 2036. Campbelltown’s population will increase from 162,902 in 2017 to 273,541 in 2036. The two local government areas alone will have a combined population of more than 500,000.

A 2017 government report found that if there is no change to existing cremation and grave occupancy rates, cemetery capacity in metropolitan Sydney would be exhausted by 2051. Unavailability of at-need burial plots can be expected from 2026 across several areas of Sydney.

Once completed, the new memorial park is forecast to add 136,000 burial plots over the next 100 years and will help meet the needs of the 35% of Sydneysiders whose preference is burial, rather than cremation.

CEO of the not-for-profit Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria, Mr Peter O’Meara said the approval means the trust can now help future generations meet the challenges of declining burial space in a rapid growth area of Sydney.

“We have a strong Catholic population in Sydney’s south west and the new cemetery will help us cater for their needs, as well as those from other denominations.” Mr O’Meara said.

“This approval ensures the interment practices and beliefs of all religious and cultural groups are respected and provided for. We welcome everyone to these world-class facilities and public recreational spaces”.

The NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing, the Hon Melinda Pavey also welcomed the approval saying this vital infrastructure was a great step towards addressing the critical problem of diminishing burial space in Sydney.

The Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Mr Vic Alhadeff said “We are due to run out of graves available for purchase in Sydney within five years and this cemetery will provide for our community’s burial needs at least until the end of the century”.

Catholic Cemeteries + Crematoria will also restore the dilapidated and partly collapsed historic buildings on the site to their former condition. The memorial park at Varroville will include passive recreation areas, gardens and landscaped walkways accessible to everyone in the community that will protect these sites in perpetuity.

To view a fly-over video of Macarthur Memorial Park please go to the website

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