LAKE Macquarie Memorial Park will establish a funeral industry first for this region soon with the opening of a Natural Earth or Green Burial-Cremation area in its tranquil bush setting.
The park, located at 405 Cessnock Road, Ryhope, will open this burial-cremation area in its grounds, to be called the Lake Macquarie Memorial Reserve, in June.
The natural burials to take place in this area involve an internment practice where human remains are returned to the earth to decompose naturally and contribute to new life.
Human remains are prepared for the natural burial without embalming and are buried in an approved and fully biodegradable casket or alternative cremated ash container.
No form of grave liner is used for natural burials.
This form of cemetery has no traditional or formal headstones and there is no obligation to use a headstone.
The area will have a choice of perimeter rocks surrounding the reserve or a rock at the burial site detailing the epitaph details of the interred.
Each family may select their own level of environmental impact or "level of green" and graves can be machine dug or hand dug and refilled with natural soil.
"The Lake Macquarie Memorial Reserve will be a first in this area with the nearest other natural earth burial-cremation sites located in Lismore and there is one in Sydney," the park's family services supervisor Wendy Davidson said.
"Funeral services can be held at the Lake Macquarie Memorial Park Chapel or anywhere within the grounds of the Memorial Reserve," she said.
"If you choose to hold your service at the graveside our staff will mow a section of the surrounding grass to ensure the safety of bereaved attendees and we also provide extensive marquee covers and seating."
For more information, phone the park on 4950 5727.