Black River cemetery, which is situated adjacent to Klipfontein Road and Garlandale High School in Garlandale, is owned by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
Mary Patrick, an archaeologist from the Cape Archaeological Survey, who was approached by the church to take the process forward, said that according to her research there are about 2 500 graves, with at least half of the remains belonging to those of children.
That particular cemetery she explained, was active between 1860 and 1950 – a period where diseases with high mortality rates in children were prevalent.
According to the church’s research, four parishes, are in close proximity to the cemetery – St George’s in Silvertown, St James in the Black River area (now defunct), St Mark’s in Athlone and St Paul’s in Rondebosch.
Archival research of the Black River cemetery was presented at a meeting held during the consultation process with families of the deceased and affected parties, which was started in 2012.
The research stated that in October 1918 as a result of the Spanish flu epidemic, about 20 burials took place a day and the cemetery was being used on an emergency basis with a minister working on site.
The last burial at the site took place in 1952.
Garth Counsell, the Bishop of Table Bay, said that over time the cemetery became neglected as people stopped visiting it.
“Apart from a few isolated headstones in deep grass, there is no indication that it is a cemetery. We have received constant complaints from Garlandale homeowners about dumping of waste, vagrancy and crime.”
Patrick said through consultations, the remains will be stored at St Mark’s church columbarium.
She told the Weekend Argus that all protocols had been followed.
But members of the community and sources in the church have confirmed that the Anglican church will not sell the land.
Families of those buried at Black River cemetery may email [email protected]