Henry ThompsonPath through Cemetery headstonescross

Bringing Linwood Cemetery Alive!

Headstones Restored

March 24th, 2010 by Alexandra

The Friends of Linwood Cemetery Trustees are delighted to announce that our first restoration project is now completed.  In early 2009 we were granted $5,000 by the Lotteries Fund to restore 24 fallen and damaged headstones in Block 29.b29p80

Any restoration has to be done to the standards of the Conservation Plan for the cemetery and so we put the work out to tender.  DecraArts won the contract and have now completed the work.

The project took a long time to complete because, initially, we weren’t aware of the process required by the City Council which ensures that the families responsible for the plots have a chance to object to any work being done on their plot.” said Anne Holloway, the Chair of the Trust.

“The City Council called an extra-ordinary meeting with us in October 2009 so we could determine a legal and efficient process to get the work completed and recorded, which was important for both organisations,” she added.

Families are responsible for their own grave plots, but as time has gone on many families are often unaware of this, or even that they have family buried in Linwood Cemetery.  The Friends of Linwood Cemetery Trust, as self-appointed guardians of the cemetery, are trying to encourage community pride back into the cemetery with an aim of eliminating vandalism and preserving the cemetery for future generations.

b29p20-and-21We hope that families will contribute to the restoration of  their own family plots but, in the meantime, we will continue to raise as much funding and awareness as possible to try to ensure that graves under the most threat of losing pieces are preserved.

“She’s pretty big job! But at least we now have some examples of what can be done for people to see and hope that there is less damage and more enthusiasm by locals to put the heart back into the cemetery.” added Alexandra Gilbert, Secretary of the Trust.

We have already selected more headstones in the same area that need urgent restoration and will try to get further funding to extend the project.  In addition, we want to work with the City Council to track down families of the plots under most threat and to help facilitate restoration for people who are keen get this done.

This project had enabled us to decide on a strategy, determine a legal process that enables us to work with the City Council and to record progress.  It is very tempting, when in the cemetery, to want to repair all the damage in one hit, because it is so heartbreaking to see the state of the graves.  The damage is so extensive and often mindless.  At a rough estimate one in ten graves have received either deliberate damage or environmental damage and there are nearly 20,000 people buried in there.

It’s been a tough decision, but we have decided to carry on round the parking circle near Block 29 where we started as many people use this main path and people still gather there for some funerals.  Fingers crossed, we can keep going and financial help and interest will snowball.

You can seb29p43e more before and after pictures by searching Block 29 on this website.

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