A city is a ravenous beast that feeds on its own entrails to survive. Land on the outskirts, that hitherto had been prime tillable acres, is cut'n'diced into building blocks for McMansions. Denuded of trees, cut and filled to within an inch of its life, arable loam is subsumed during the expansion. And, yet, it is not just on the fringes, but small overlooked pockets within the urban conglomeration.
In the last month, two situations have received publicity where the encroachment has been to advance the dead, rather than the living.
The trustees of Rookwood Cemetery were said to be sounding out their counterparts in a Strathfield gold club for tandem use of their greens. Just how this would work boggles the brain.
And then again today, I note the ongoing saga of the market gardens of La Perouse and the rapacious Botany Cemetery. I am frequently down at Botany Cemetery, and itch to wander the tilled rows of chinese vegetables that fill the adjacent gully. The trustees prosecute their case against the market gardeners with zeal as can be seen by this report last year about their testing the chemical composition of the water used by the gardeners.
You can see the attraction for the cemetery trustees. And the state government is wiping its hands of the responsibility and throwing the decision back to the municipal authorities. However, within another 25 years, the cemetery will have its eye on the Yarra Recreation Reserve. Once the beast is fed, it is insatiable.
In this grab from Google Maps, the glaring white in the centre is the sand pits. Above the sand pits are the tilled rows, and stretching above them is the massive cemetery.
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