Wollongong council plans legal access for lost Garrawarra cemetery after 50 years

For fifty years, access to the graves of 2000 people who died at NSW's only state-run tuberculosis sanatorium has been forbidden.

But, under a new plan to be debated on Monday night, Wollongong City Council will pave the way for legal access to the long-lost Waterfall cemetery.

Located south the old sanatorium (now the Garrawarra aged care facility), the isolated 110-year-old burial ground has been under the council's care since 1967, but was only rediscovered in 2011. Since then, efforts have been made to restore its place in the city’s history.

The council is hoping to acquire “right of carriageway” over an old road that runs off the Princes Highway, at Helensburgh, so that people who want to visit the graves do not have to cross Department of Health and Crown Lands.

“Council is responsible for the management of the Waterfall (Garrawarra) Cemetery and currently no legal access to it exists,” a report to councillors said.

To remedy this, and eliminate the need for people to cross into Department of Health land near the aged care centre, Crown Lands has suggested the council acquire a fire trail and apply to the NSW Treasurer to waive any compensation fees.

The fire trail currently does not have access to the Princes Highway, the council said, and this would need to be constructed.