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Sydney council bans family's shrine to dead son

A Sydney council has ordered a couple to demolish a shrine that was built to commemorate their dead son and is a focal point for the local Catholic community.

Guiseppe and Rosa Pedavoli erected the monument eight years ago to remember their son Domenic, who died in 1991 aged 33.

The shrine is well known in the local Catholic community and a mass is held there every month which attracts around 150 worshippers.

However Holroyd City Council does not approve. The council last week secretly voted to ban "unauthorised" religious shrines in people's front yards because of "planning issues". They will now order residents with shrines in their front yards to remove them.

Proposed by Labor councillors Malcolm Tulloch and Josie Moncrief, the ruling affects the Pedavoli family and several other families who have erected shrines in the heavily Catholic Merrylands and Greystanes area.

Holroyd Mayor Mark Pigram defended council's decision. He said council had "no choice" because construction of any structure at the front of a property was in contravention of building codes.

"Council will be guided by the comments of the minister and I am certain he will recognise the planning implications across Sydney of allowing structures of any nature to be erected within the front building alignment," Mr Pigram said.

Council's resolution is aimed at "religious shrines", giving them the same status as garages and other buildings.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties labelled the decision a threat to freedom of religion.

"What's the difference between a shrine and a garden gnome or a bird bath or a fountain," NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy he said.

Council wants 'hazardous' shrines removed (SMH)
Holroyd City Council

Daily Telegraph

3 Jul 2002