Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Memorials in parks

Memorials recognise the community's connection with parks, mark cultural and heritage values in the landscape and educate about significant people and events connected with parks. This policy provides guidance on appropriate memorials in areas managed by Nataional Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

As parks are areas that conserve unspoiled landscapes, native plants and animals, the NPWS encourages alternatives to permanent monuments and plaques. Suitable alternatives may include memorial donations, events or tree planting to mark the memory of a deceased person or past event.

In accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009, written consent from the park’s managers is required before a memorial or plaque can be installed in a park. Requests to install a memorial in a park or to hold a memorial event should be made to the relevant NPWS local office.

The Policy

  1. Memorials will be allowed, subject to this policy, for the purpose of recognising connections between the community and parks and commemorating past events or deceased people.
  2. Memorials will be sympathetic with the cultural landscape and have minimal impact on natural values and visual amenity.
  3. The type of memorial, its location, setting and design will reflect the significance of the connection between the person, community or event being commemorated and the park.
  4. Events and donations to the National Parks and Wildlife Foundation will be encouraged as an alternative to monuments and plaques.
  5. Aboriginal connection to Country must be recognised when considering the appropriateness of a memorial and Aboriginal communities must be consulted about how Aboriginal cultural heritage is publicly presented on park.
  6. The diversity of cultures in NSW must be taken into account when considering proposals for memorials.

Consent

7. Consent is required for the installation of memorials and will generally only be granted for the following:

  • a permanent built monument to mark a connection between a person and a park, or an event, that is of national significance (see paragraph 18)
  • a commemorative plaque to mark a connection between a person and a park, or an event, that is of national, state or NPWS significance (see paragraph 22)
  • naming a place or infrastructure to mark a connection between a person and a park that is of national, state, NPWS or local significance (refer to NPWS Naming Policy)
  • a grave marker in a pre-existing burial ground
  • a tree of local provenance planted to mark a connection between a person and a park that is of family or personal significance (e.g. the person has died in the park)

8. Consent will not be granted for the following:

  • a memorial to mark a living person
  • a commemorative plaque to mark the death of a visitor
  • a temporary shrine, other than for the duration of an event
  • a permanent memorial to a person or event that has already been memorialised in a park.

Procedures

Consultation

9. To determine the suitability of memorials proposed under sections 7a-d, the Park Authority should consult the Aboriginal community as well as key stakeholders with an interest in the event or person proposed to be commemorated (refer to Aboriginal Community Engagement Framework and the Cultural Heritage Community Consultation Policy).

10. Sectors of the community known to have a cultural connection to a park should be consulted if a proposed memorial is likely to impact on their use of or connection to the park.

11. Further detail on the types of consultation required for monuments and commemorative plaques is given below.

Maintenance

12.    The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will manage memorials that have heritage value and those listed on the State Heritage Register in accordance with the Minimum Maintenance Standards set under the Heritage Act 1977.

13.    The maintenance of a memorial (excluding memorial trees – see paragraph 28) by persons connected to the person or event will be allowed with prior approval if it does not interfere with other park users or adversely impact natural or cultural heritage values.

Applications for memorials

14.  An application to create a memorial or hold a memorial event (refer to NPWS Events Policy for further guidance that applies to events) must be submitted to the relevant NPWS local area office in writing.

15.  The application must describe the proposed memorial and detail the significance of the person's connection to the park or the event.

16.  Application processing times will be dependent on the level of assessment and consultation required.

17.  NPWS will provide a written response to the applicant which explains the decision.

Memorial types

Monuments

18    The National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council, NSW Heritage Council and Offce of Environment and Heritage Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (ACHAC) should be consulted on whether the connection between the person and the park, or the event, is of national significance.

19   The visual impacts and maintenance requirements of the monument as well as the cultural landscape should be considered when deciding on an appropriate design and location.

20   The construction of a monument requires an appropriate level of environmental assessment by the proponent (see Review of Environmental Factors (REF) guidelines) and may also need approvals under the Heritage Act 1977.

21   The Branch Director is responsible for approving the construction of a monument, noting that statutory approvals may be required.

Commemorative plaques

22   The Regional Advisory Committee, NSW Heritage Council and Offce of Environment and Heritage Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee should be consulted on whether the connection between the person and the park, or the event, is of national or state significance.

23   The visual impacts and maintenance requirements of the plaque should be considered when deciding on an appropriate design and location. Plaques should be situated so as to be unobtrusive.

24   The installation of a plaque may need approvals under the Heritage Act 1977 if it is placed on a structure listed on the State Heritage Register.

25   The Regional Manager is responsible for approving the installation of a commemorative plaque, noting that statutory approvals may be required.

Planting trees

26. A tree planted as a memorial will not be identified at the site.

27. The tree must be of local provenance.

28. Once established, tree health will be subject to natural conditions and maintenance will not be undertaken to enhance survivability and growth.

29. The relevant Park Authority is responsible for approving a tree planting.

Grave markers

30. Erecting a grave marker requires an appropriate level of environmental assessment by the proponent (see Review of Environmental Factors (REF) guidelines) and may also need approvals under the Heritage Act 1977.

31. Consent to install a grave marker will only be granted where an applicant can demonstrate that:

  • he/she has a strong personal connection with the person or people buried at the site; or
  • the grave has cultural or historical significance.

32. Grave markers must be sympathetic in form and materials with other markers on the site where culturally appropriate.

33. The relevant Park Authority, in consultation with relevant heritage conservation officers, is responsible for approving a grave marker, noting that statutory approvals may be required.

About the policy

Scope and application

The policy applies to creating and maintaining memorials on all lands acquired or reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 ('parks'). This policy does not apply to lands reserved under Part 4A of the Act unless the Board of Management for those lands has adopted the policy. However, the policy still provides guidance for staff in their dealings with Boards of Management.

Note that this policy does not provide guidance on burials. Guidance on the re-burial of Aboriginal remains is provided by the Repatriation Policy and Guidelines.

Definitions and abbreviations

'Memorial' means anything intended to mark the memory of a deceased person or past event. It includes, but is not limited to, permanent monuments, plaques, planted trees, temporary shrines, naming places and infrastructure, and donations. It also includes memorial events such as services and gatherings.

Guidance on criteria for local and state significance is provided by NSW Heritage Manual, which defines

  • 'Local significance' as significant within the local government area. In other words where the person’s or event’s connection to a park contributed to the individuality, landscape or character of an area and is an irreplaceable part of its heritage.
  • 'State significance' as significant to the people of NSW. In other words where the person’s or event’s connection to a park is of special interest to the State in its widest sense and forms an irreplaceable part of the heritage of New South Wales.

Guidance on criteria for 'national significance' is provided by Australian Government Guidelines For The Assessment Of Places For The National Heritage List.

Accountabilities

Paragraph

Position accountable

13 - approving the maintenance of a memorial

relevant Park Authority (see instrument of delegation of Director-General Functions under NPW Regulation)

21 - approving the construction of a monument

Branch Director

25 - approving the installation of a commemorative plaque

Regional Manager

29 - approving a tree planting

relevant Park Authority (see instrument of delegation of Director-General Functions under NPW Regulation)

33 - approving a grave marker

relevant Park Authority (see instrument of delegation of Director-General Functions under NPW Regulation)

Page last updated: 25 August 2015