Griffith City Council "condemned" for grave ornament removals and agree to temporary halt

Griffith City Council formally passed a motion to temporarily stop removing ornaments from graves, after being “condemned” in last night’s ordinary meeting. 

Councillors sat in eerie silence as members of the community addressed them, recounting their anger and sadness at finding precious items missing from family members’ graves. 

Carmel La Rocca, who organised a community meeting on the issue the previous day, was first to speak. 

“The community of Griffith condemns council for their unsympathetic actions and hopes that Griffith City Council aims to be socially responsible and show empathy into the future.”

Lina Soncin, who had flowers removed from her son and husband’s graves, said council could have resolved the issue when it first arose in 2005, but the problem keeps reoccurring, causing unnecessary hurt. 

Ms La Rocca called on council to “replace the current in-situ flower holders on the grave slabs in the lawn cemetery with appropriate flower holders, that are similar to those provided to the monument section of the cemetery”.

She also presented council with the following recommendations based on the Monday meeting:

  • Special considerations should be given to the babies and children’s section of the cemetery.
  • Indiscriminate removal of flower pots and ornaments be reconsidered and cease. 
  • Replace those vases that do not pose a threat.
  • Ensure funeral directors discuss the different ways of placing ornaments. 
  • That troughs be continued across the lawn cemeteries so that living flowers can be planted.  
  • Respect the diversity in traditions where applicable for the time required. 
  • Of those affected, have a compromise in place before actively taking away someone’s flowers, vases etc.
  • Fix the broken brick fence to the entrance from Wakaden Street.
  • Removal of any product be put on hold until further discussions.

Cr Dino Zappacosta brought the motion that council review the ornament removal policy. All councillors agreed, and Mayor John Dal Broi said there would be a moratorium on removals while the policy is under review. 

Ms Rocca said people can get in touch with her community group through the facebook page