Saumarez Ponds could be home to the country's first natural burial ground

A development application for a nation-first natural burial ground at Saumarez Ponds is awaiting approval. 

The application, submitted to Uralla Shire Council on July 26, is seeking approval to develop a 1.5 hectare section of Banded Bee Farm as a natural burial ground.

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If successful, people will be able to be buried at the site in a biodegradable coffin or shroud –without being treated by preserving chemicals such as embalming fluids.

Earth funerals director Kevin Hartley said the project was part of a broader plan.  

“It’s been a really interesting process because we’ve had to work through a whole lot of stuff with the geographical suitability of the site – and it’s actually perfect,” he said. 

“This is a prototype … It could be the first in the country as a standalone natural burial site.”  

During the preparation process, the project has undergone multiple environment and legal evaluations including an environmental impact assessment.

The site, which may be known as New England Natural Burial Ground, is also part of a major regenerative plan by landowners Jane Pickett and Ray South. 

The pair donated the land after recognising the potential of natural burials with permaculture practices for restoration.   

Mr Hartley said the project would offer people the opportunity to choose a sustainable burial site, which directly benefited the environment – if successfully approved.

“It’s a good project because it’s good for the environment, giving people choice on choosing a sustainable funeral and planting trees,” he said.

The review and processing time frame is estimated at about eight weeks.