Digging Graves

Dave Sharpe - the Operations Manager for Rookwood Cemetery - has been digging graves with the Rookwood Anglican Trust for six years. Rookwood has 1 million plots and the Anglican Trust has a section of it which equates to 350,000 graves.

In addition to digging graves he and his team maintain the plots and surrounding cemetery gardens. Prior to this, he used his skills in landscaping and horticulture to tend to the cemetery grounds. In addition to grave digging, Dave also teaches Landscape and Horticulture part time at TAFE NSW - Northern Sydney Institute (NSI). Dave is the only teacher in NSW teaching a grave digging course which shows participants how to dig graves both with machinery and manually using hand tools, positioning the machinery around the grave and what to do if the grave collapses due to unstable ground.

The course is a three day TAFE NSW Statement of Attainment (SoA) conducted on site at Rookwood Cemetery. Students who have completed the SoA can go on to do the Certificate III in Grave Digging Grounds and Maintenance at Ryde TAFE. The course will run in 2008 pending on student enrolments.

Dave's work also includes exhumations, both for relatives who maybe moving overseas and wish to take their loved ones with them or coronial exhumations that are part of police investigations.

Interesting Fact: David says that the human race is getting bigger in physical size, meaning that coffins are getting taller, longer and wider, and hence so are the grave plots!