Thousands of headstones will be removed from old graves to make room for more burials at Karrakatta Cemetery, much to the dismay of families of people already interred there. The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board says there is no new land left at the cemetery, and it has no choice except to relocate headstones if the cemetery is to remain open. The headstones are being relocated elsewhere in the cemetery or stored until families decide what to do with them.
Western Australia Genealogical Society secretary Wendy Bloomfield said the practice was a form of desecration. It also makes it difficult for people who rely on graves for crucial information when researching their family histories. "There's a lot of land around the city where cemeteries can be made. They should go and make a cemetery somewhere else," she said.
In Western Australia, families buy the right to a grave for 25 years, which can be renewed for a further 25 years on expiry. After 50 years, however, the cemeteries board can refuse to extend the lease so that it can carry out renewal work.
You can read more about this in an article by Dawn Gibson that is published in The West Australian.