Henry ThompsonPath through Cemetery headstonescross

Bringing Linwood Cemetery Alive!

Cemetery Vandals

April 22nd, 2009 by admin

Vandals have wrecked up to 30 graves at historic Linwood Cemetery in a wanton bender that has almost compromised the integrity of some sites. Headstones have been uprooted and graves desecrated in what the Friends of Linwood Cemetery say is an “outrage”.

Longtime Friends volunteer Linda Rutland said the group had just raised $25,000 for routine monument repair when the damage was discovered last week. “We would love information as to who has done this so they can get a sentence of helping to pay to fix this mess,” she said. “The headstones are pretty solid. Some are about 160 centimetres to 185cm tall. “You feel you just want to give up or cry. It’s demoralising.”

The group is appealing for muscle power to help put the headstones back in place. “We could make a huge improvement if we could get some male volunteers who were able to put the headstones back in place. Many have just been moved not smashd and so if we had some muscle to help, it would make an enormous difference,” Ms Rutland said.

Linwood, the fifth oldest surviving cemetery in Christchurch, yields an historical record of many of the founding fathers and early settlers.

Among the notable names is Bishop Churchill Julius, the second Anglican Bishop of Christchurch; Thomas John Edmonds and his wife Jane Elizabeth Edmonds, the Edmonds Factory founders; and explorer Arthur Dudley Dobson.

It also contains a Jewish section, including graves resited from the 19th centruy Jewish cemetery in Hereford St.

An extensive restoration programme still underway includes repairs to monumental masonry, path reconstruction, landscape enhancement and entrance redevelopment.

The Christchurch City Council is working on path reconstruction, some headstone repair and general improvements as the budget allows, but the Friends group are doing all the grave planting and weeding and landscape plantings.

The $25,000 raised by the group for monumental repair would be used “very carefully” to gain the maximum outcome, Ms Rutland said.

The cemetery had fallen into disrepair through vandalism and neglect.

The group set the ball rolling in 2000, annoyed nothing had been done to conserve the heritage cemetery, which contains some exquisite examples of early monumental masonry.

Anna Price, Christchurch Mail, April 22, 2009.

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