The conversations of life

No, it’s not an episode of CSI: Australia now has its own body farm

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And forensic scientists have been swamped by donations of real human bodies.

The first of its kind outside the US, the “farm” has already received bodies from 30 donors, with over 500 people offering to donate their corpses after they die.

The facility, which is located in bushland on Sydney’s outskirts, is formally known as the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) and was established a year ago by the University of Technology Sydney to study how our bodies decompose for police investigations.

So just who are these ‘donors’?

A “slight bias” to seniors

“We do have a slight bias towards seniors and the elderly, thankfully because they live long and healthy lives and intend to die from natural causes,” forensic scientist Professor Shari Forbes told the ABC.

There are now plans for more Aussie facilities including one in central Queensland.

There is one consideration though – the neighbours.

“We are based in a fairly remote, small community,” she adds. “A lot of them are farmers, so I think they’re used to the smell – not that you can detect the smell from our facility.”

Jill Donaldson

A practising aged care physiotherapist for the past 13 years, Jill has worked in more than 50 metropolitan and regional aged care homes. She has also toured care facilities across the US and Africa. She is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff that serve them.


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