Some councils are considering vertical and underwater cemeteries because graveyards are quickly filling up.
In Ipswich, there’s room to spare for those dying to get in.
All Ipswich cemeteries have at least 30 years’ life and some much longer.
“This does depend on the burial rate remaining the same or lower for the future,” said Acting General Manager of Planning and Regulatory Services Brett Davey.
It is expected the trend towards cremation over burial will continue due to the high costs associated with burials. Cremation is currently more popular than burial in Ipswich.
Regarding specific cemeteries, the operational life is expected to be:
Warrill Park Cemetery
This is the main lawn cemetery for Ipswich with about 12,000 interments. It has five burials per week, though this does fluctuate. Based on these numbers, it is likely the cemetery will have an operational life exceeding 40 years.
Stone Quarry Cemetery
This is a country cemetery with fewer than 1,000 interments. Current burial rates are static at one to two burials per year, though this may rise with the increasing urbanisation of the surrounding areas. The expected operational life of the this cemetery is over 100 years.
It has about 50 interments and ashes placements per year. Due to its location, Tallegalla Cemetery (pictured) is a preferred burial place for the local community. A draft master plan has been developed for the cemetery that will see the expected operational life exceed 50 years.
This old historical cemetery has seen a slight increase in burials in recent times, with two to three burials per year. With limited land size, the cemetery has an expected life of 30 years, though this may need revision if burial rates increase.
Ipswich General Cemetery
Ipswich General Cemetery is closed for new burials. But the cemetery near the dead centre of town remains open for use of reserves (burial sites purchased by future customers) and reopens (where family members are buried on top of loved ones).
Rapid population growth in other council areas, such as the Gold Coast, has seen cemeteries running out of space. With deaths rising by 25 per cent a year, Gold Coast City Council is considering multi-level cemeteries or burials out at sea.
Brisbane City Council, like Ipswich has sufficient space, but said it will buy more land before considering alternatives. Lawn burial plots there range from $4,000 to $6,000.
There are about 260 burials a year in Ipswich. Fees ranged between $3000 and $3600, with possibly some additional costs. Cremations are about a third of the cost.
The plot thickens in the US where lawmakers in Washington State have just opted for a rather novel approach: human composting, known as recomposition. The remains, which take 3-4 weeks to compost when put with organic material, are returned to the family as soil and can be used to grow new plants and trees, or simply put in the garden. It is about half the cost of burials there.
No SEQ council has expressed an interest so far in recomposition.