A Natural Burial Ground


Project Summary​
The vision  is to establish a burial ground, which will offer a more affordable and sustainable burial practice for the community. There are also considerable benefits to the local environment by providing an innovative approach to remediating contaminated land and creating access to more public open space for the community.

This broader community of Port Kembla has expressed great interest and enthusiasm for finding a sustainable and affordable burial option.


We would be using  a natural earth burial model with a twist. The truth is that the use of pristine land for burial needs to be re-examined, after all if we are living in the 21st century it is unlikely that our bodies are chemical free. We are therefore, proposing that while we aim to be as natural as possible we would have broad guidelines.


What is Natural Earth Burial

Natural earth burial put simply is the burying of a body in a shroud or biodegradable coffin in a shallow grave (approx. 1 metre deep) with out the use of any chemicals, which enables a more natural decomposition.

The graves are marked with nothing other than a tree (sometimes) and the location of the grave is registered using a Global Positioning System (GPS). The coordinates are then logged in a register.

Families can access these coordinates, also by using a simple device available on most mobile phones.

A natural burial ground is defined by The Natural Earth Burial Society as  “a specific parcel of land set aside exclusively for eco-style burials” where the natural setting remains suitable for use as public open space.

There are two main types of natural burial grounds, dedicated or hybrid, which are summarized below.

Types of Burial Ground

  • A re-vegetation site is describes as reclaimed land that has been cleared and is in need of restoration an re-vegetation, 

  • A conservation site is described as land that has some existing vegetation but also cleared space suitable for burial and is in need of conservation and supplementary vegetation. This type of site ensures the preservation of the burial ground.

  • A hybrid burial ground is described as setting aside an area within an existing cemetery and labeling them “Natural Burial Grounds”

In this case we could be looking at a mixture of Re-vegetation and Conservation.

Basic Principles of Natural Burial

  • Bodies are wrapped in a shroud or contained in a biodegradable “chemical free” coffin

  • Bodies are not embalmed

  • Graves are marked only with a tree or a stone or sometimes nothing at all

  • Graves are located using a Global Positioning System and by using ground level makers

  • To create a meaningful burial which will enhance the environment

  • To minimize any harmful environmental impact of the burial (i.e. ongoing maintenance and management which could prove damaging to the environment

Our Community Project Model

An Environmental Management System based on ISO 14001 will be developed by Our Community Project for this site and this system will inform all aspects of the operation, safety and environmental considerations for the Burial Ground.

As a social enterprise this project delivers:

  • Affordable burial plots

  • Remediation of contaminated land back to community use

  • Improved environmental outcomes

  • Local employment and training opportunites

  • Opening up a potential market with surrounding areas including Sydney

  • A source of financial support for the operation of Tender Funerals (previously Community Undertakings) – a community based funeral service.