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By Madeleine Gray on December 2, 2016 in News

F**k off ! We’re the People’s Front of Judea!

F**k off ! We’re the People’s Front of Judea!

There is an incisive scene in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian that pretty accurately encapsulates the nonsensical factionalism that occurs within many political causes.

Brian apprehends a group of people and asks them whether they are the Judean People’s Front. Flabbergasted and provoked, they respond, “F**k off! Judean People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! The only people we hate more than the Romans are the f**king Judean People’s Front.”

The obvious irony here is that these ‘fronts’ want the exact same thing, but consistently make things harder for themselves by refusing to work together.

If you’ve been reading the Letters section in The Beast over the past year or so, it’s likely that you will have come across our Eastern Suburbs version of the Monty Python split: Residents for Waverley Cemetery (RWC) versus Save Waverley Cemetery (SWC).

Residents for Waverley Cemetery is a group of local residents who are committed to “protecting and conserving the cemetery”. Their primary concern has been with getting the cemetery State Heritage listed – something that they have now achieved. This heritage listing has been encouraged by Waverley Council.

“The protection of Waverley Cemetery is now assured for the future and I look forward to knocking on the state and federal government’s doors for funding to restore some of its amazing monuments,” Waverley Mayor Sally Betts said.
Chris Elliott, a spokesperson for RWC confirms, echoed Cr. Betts’ sentiments.

“Heritage listing means that lines of funding from the state and federal government (Council is now applying for National Heritage listing) have opened up,” he said. “We also think that the increasing stature of the cemetery will mean that new benefactors and other sources of funding may become available in the future.”

So why is Save Waverley Cemetery so vehemently opposed to the methods of the RWC? Spokesperson for SWC Dr. Bronwyn Kelly said that the main schism arises from the groups’ competing methodologies. Dr. Kelly said that while RWC wants to save the cemetery by ‘leaving it alone’, SWC thinks that the best way to move forward is to get proactive.

SWC argues for such steps as the construction of a pavilion/event centre under the cliffs at the cemetery, for the erection of a café, flower and gift shop that might raise revenue for monument restoration, and for a bigger perimeter fence to deter night-time vandalism.

RWC spokesperson Penny Mora said, “it would be utter folly to build [a pavilion] there [under the cliffs]”, and after the landslide at the site earlier in the year, it’s hard to argue with her thinking.

The RWC’s Mr. Elliott went on to reinforce this point.

“The people of Waverley have been saved from the enormous and ongoing burden of having to pay for a loss generating building that was proposed to be built in the line of fire of a rising and increasingly furious ocean,” he said.

Basically, it comes down to this: the cemetery needs money to survive. With the State Heritage listing, it seems that SWC’s plan for the cemetery to become self-funded via on-site commercial exploits is dead and buried. RWC’s plan to “Do as much as necessary and as little as possible” prevails.