THE FATAL RESULTS OF THE EXCES-
DEATH-RATE MORE THAN DOUBLED.
Consequent upon the phenomenal heat the death rate in the city and suburbs last week assumed alarming proportions. A glance at the records of the Necropolis and of the Waverley Cemetery shows that immediately after the excessively high temperatures the mortality rate more than doubled, decreasing again towards the close of the week. No less than 250 deaths were recorded during the week within a short radius of the city—a number exceeding that of any period since the time of the influenza epidemic of four or five years ago. The largest number of burials took place on Wednesday last, the result of the previous Monday's unprecedented heat wave. Nearly 70 corpses were interred at Rookwood alone, the total number of funerals on that day in the city and suburbs reaching about 80. So great was the demand for graves that the managers of several of the sections were compelled to engage additional temporary hands, whilst the energies of the permanent men were taxed to the utmost. The great bulk of the deaths recorded were those of infants and very aged persons, but there was also a large number of deaths in the prime of life, resulting from sunstroke and heat apoplexy. As there was no other cause which would tend to double the mortality rate during last week, it may reasonably be assumed that at least 120 of the deaths in the city and suburbs were directly
attributable to the effects of the weather.
The spectacle presented at the mortuary at the Necropolis on Wednesday last was a most dis- tressing one. The funeral trains were crowded to their utmost capacity and additional accommoda- tion had to be provided for the carriage of the dead. The morning and afternoon funeral trains brought nearly 70 bodies for interment, and the number of mourners was unprecedented. Notwithstanding the increased demand made upon the energies of the officials, the managers of the different sections carried out their duties in a highly satisfactory manner. In the Church of England section the arrangements, which were supervised by Mr. O. Kimberley, were especially creditable—not the slightest hitch or delay occurring, although 30 bodies were interred in that ground alone on the one day. When it is remembered that every grave is sunk to a depth of 6ft. through a formation of shale and stone, and that the top of the coffin in every instance is over 4ft. from the surface, some idea of the extent of the work
performed during the oppressive weather may be formed. The funerals on Wednesday included 30 in the Church of England section, 18 in the Roman Catholic section, 11 in the Presbyterian section, 4 in the Wesleyan section, 1 in the Congregational section, and 6 at the Waverley Cemetery.
From Monday to Saturday inclusive of last week 79 bodies were buried in the Church of England section, Necropolis, as follows :—Monday, 13; Tuesday, 14 ; Wednesday, 30; Thursday, 6 ; Friday, 5 ; and Saturday, 11. This is considerably in excess of the average, which is betwen 40 and 50 per week. In the Roman Catholic section, during the same period, the number of interments was 60—On Monday, 8 ; Tuesday, 10 ; Wednes- day, 18; Thursday, 7 ; Friday, 10 ; and Saturday, 7. The average number of burials in this section, calculated on the basis of last year's interments, is 25 per week, so that it will be seen that the rate last week was considerably more than doubled. A number of additional gravediggers were put on to cope with the increased demand for graves, and inconvenience was thus avoided. During the same six days 14 bodies were interred in the Wesleyan portion of the Necropolis, as follows : Monday, 1 ; Tuesday, 2 ; Wednesday, 4 ; Thurs- day, 5 ; Friday, 2 ; and Saturday, 1. The aver- age number of burials in this ground is six per week, so that in common with, other portions of the general cemetery the rate was more than double. In the Presbyterian portion there was also an immense increase, corresponding with that in the other sections. An extraordinary feature in connection with the mortality-rate for the past week is the fact that whilst in nearly all instances the death-rate has doubled, there was no increase in the Congrega- tional section. In the Independent section of the Necropolis the number of burials was, if anything, below the averago, only four bodies being interred. At the Waverley Cemetery the burials for the same six days numbered 36, or for the week ended Sunday, 41. They were distributed as follows : Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 6, Thursday 9, Friday 8, Saturday 2. The average number of funerals at this burial ground is from 18 to 20 per week, therefore the deaths in the eastern suburbs doubled during the excessively hot period under review. During the past day or two the rate at
the different cemeteries has not been in excess of