Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Blood and bone


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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13 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

I spent most of my life in or near the city of Vancouver, BC, which, with its suburbs, has encroached on the wonderful arable land of the Fraser River delta. Miles and miles of rich farmlands have become subdivisions and condominium complexes.
No wonder so much food is now imported into Canada.
Is it the same in Australia?
K

hamilton said...

We have some of the best soil for farming (and for fruit trees and vineyards) in our area too that is being taken over by developers as it is not economical to farm in small lots anymore. Yet, at the same time there is a push on for local farm produce. Guess who will win in the end.

Ann said...

I really, really hope they don't get their hands on the old market gardens, there are so few (only 2?) left, but I'm not very hopefull. I think they should be heritage listed and protected.

congwongbay said...

There is more about the gardens at www.laperousemarketgardens.wordpress.com

Jim said...

Love the rusty shack.

Julie said...

Thank you, Congwongbay. I am over there reading and joining in right now!

Ann said...

These are the other market gardens that I know of - Kyeemagh Market Gardens. I'm pleased to see that they are heritage listed.
http://www.visit.heritage.nsw.gov.au/16_subnav_09_2.cfm?itemid=5045758&sort_by=&item_id=&item_name=&suburb_name=&product_category=&state_theme=&product_region=

They are fairly close to me but I keep forgetting about them, I must go down with the camera.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Ooo a bandaid building. I didn't know about the market gardens. I like them and they should not give way to a cemetery. We have to think of better ways than taking up acres and acres for cemeteries.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Just saw the banner in your sidebar... good one.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Isn't it incredible that market gardens have to be heritage listed to be rescued from the threat of developers, I agree that they should be but really! It's way too late for the sheds by the look of it, but they do add great impact to your info Julie.

Julie said...

all three of the market gardens that Ann and I are looking into have sheds like this, Grace. They add to the value, IMO. I do not want them 'tidied up', as Mr Pappas thinks I do!!

congwongbay said...

Hi Julie,
The submissions to the Randwick LEP have been published. More than 80% of all submissions were about the Gardens and more than 80% of those support the Cemetery. Misleading information is being spread about contamination even though the Chief Scientist of the NSW Food Authority debunked this last year. The submission from the Crown Lands representative is confusing to say the least. I don't think this section of the DPI has caught up with the fact that ex-Minister Tony Kelly is no longer with them. As far as expansion goes, the most logical area is on high ground on Military Road which the Cemetery could have acquired in the late 1990s before the area was gobbled up for warehousing which brought with it heavy vehicles.
regards, Lynda

Edwin Budhi said...

Hi Julie, I filmed a little doco down there a while back. Here is the link. Was one of the sheds damaged recently? Hope they are still okay! Some of the workers used to live in them. They are interesting structures, dotted around the landscape as they are. Quite pretty at sunset too.