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Approval given for first Australian Catholic crematorium

THE NSW Parliament has approved a Bill which will permit the first Catholic crematorium in Australia to be built at the Catholic Cemetery at Rookwood.

The Catholic Weekly reports that changes were made to the Necropolis Act allowing for the establishment of denominational crematoria.

The Catholic Cemeteries Board has plans prepared for construction of a Catholic crematorium, chapel, condolence rooms and columbarium for placement of cremated remains.

The Cemeteries Board will make a development application to Auburn Council to obtain building approval, with a decision expected within three months. Once approved the $5 million project is expected to take 18 months to complete.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, has lent his support.

The Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, says he is pleased to be able to facilitate the passing of the amendments. "This amendment allows denominations that practise cremation to seek approval to establish their own crematorium at Rookwood," he said.

"It not only encourages alternative burial practices within the Sydney Basin, but in the case of the Catholic Trust, will hopefully allow the establishment of a crematorium and chapel that better caters for the requirements of those of the Catholic faith."

Harold O'Keeffe, general manager of the Catholic Cemeteries Board in the archdiocese of Sydney, says the proposed crematorium "will fulfil a community need for Catholic cremation".

"At present, about 30 per cent of deceased Catholics are cremated in secular crematoria," he said. "The Catholic cemetery will now be able to provide Catholics with the options of burial, above ground interment, memorialisation and cremation.

The Catholic Cemetery at Rookwood covers about 120ha and contains religious memorials of all periods since 1867, three operating chapels, a large modern mausoleum, significant areas of garden crypts, family vaults, lawn and monumental graves, columbaria and a monumental Stations of the Cross in a landscaped setting.

Approval given for Catholic crematorium at Rookwood (Catholic Weekly 26/12/04)

Archdiocese of Sydney
Strathfield History: Rookwood Necropolis
NSW Legislative Assembly Hansard: Rookwood Necropolis Amendment Bill

Cremation ban lifted in 1963 (Catholic Weekly 26/12/04)

21 Dec 2004