Memorials in parks policy

Memorials mark places, events and people of significance. You need written consent from a park manager to install a memorial or plaque.

Three Sisters Giant Stairway officially opened October 1932 commemorative plaque Blue Mountains National ParkAs parks are areas set aside to conserve unspoiled landscapes, native plants and animals, we encourage alternatives to permanent monuments and plaques. Such alternatives include memorial donations, events and tree plantings.

Policy

1. Memorials will be allowed, subject to this policy, to recognise connections between the community and parks, and to commemorate 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. Aboriginal communities must be consulted about how Aboriginal cultural heritage is publicly presented at the site.

6. The diversity of cultures in NSW must be taken into account when considering proposals for memorials.

Consultation

9. To determine the suitability of memorials proposed under section 7, 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 the Aboriginal Community Engagement Framework and the Cultural Heritage Community Consultation Policy (internal documents available to staff)).

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 in paragraphs 18 and 22.

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 (Heritage Act).

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 events, functions and venues 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.

Monuments

18. The National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council, NSW Heritage Council and Office of Environment and Heritage Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (ACHAC) should be consulted as to 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 history and aesthetics of the 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 (internal review of environmental factors guidelines document available to staff) and may also need approvals under the Heritage Act.

21. The branch director is responsible for approving the construction of a monument. Statutory approvals may also be required.

Commemorative plaques

22. An NPWS representative, on behalf of the proponent, will consult the Regional Advisory Committee, NSW Heritage Council and Office of Environment and Heritage Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee as to 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 if it is placed on a structure listed on the State Heritage Register.

25. The director is responsible for approving the installation of a commemorative plaque. Statutory approvals may also 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 the tree is established, its health will depend on the prevailing natural conditions. NPWS will not provide ongoing maintenance.

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 (internal review of environmental factors guidelines document available to staff) and may also need approvals under the Heritage Act.

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

  • they have a strong personal connection with the person or people buried at the site

and/or

  • the grave has cultural or historical significance.

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

33. The relevant park authority, in consultation with relevant heritage conservation officers, is responsible for approving a grave marker. Statutory approvals may also be required.

Policy adopted 24 May 2017

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 (internal document available to staff).

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, the naming of 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 the NSW Heritage Manual, which defines local significance as significance within the local-government area. In other words, this is 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 means significance to the people of NSW. In other words, this is 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 the 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 Director
25. approving the installation of a commemorative plaque Director
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