Many of hours of painstaking research over five years, significant financial support and a whole lot of hard yakka from the hard-working committee and volunteers has resulted in 187 unmarked graves being identified, marked and restored at the Stonequarry Cemetery, Taralga.
The project, which began as a plan to clean and restore old graves at Stonequarry Cemetery, expanded to include the location and identification of unmarked graves by placing cement headstones and plaques showing details of the interred.
When the project began it was uncertain what amount of detail would be unearthed, but now 187 graves have been identified with others still being researched.
Stonequarry Cemetery committee chair Laurie Chalker said he was tremendously proud of the project, which not only dramatically improved the appearance of the cemetery, but provided closure for those whose relatives were interred there and provided accurate historical records for generations to come.
"I would like to thank all of the volunteers as well as Upper Lachlan Shire Council for their support and funding assistance, and I would especially like to thank Veolia Mulwaree Trust and Pacific Hydro for their most generous support that enabled this project to be completed," he said.
"To date, the cemetery has been tidied; erosion control measures have been introduced; old graves have been restored and strengthened; headstones have been cleaned and the lettering has been restored.
"Unmarked graves have been located and marked with cement headstones, and plaques denoting the identity of the interred have been attached.
"Cemetery records have been updated and distributed to the local Historical Society and to Upper Lachlan Shire Council for their records; a toilet has been built; signs have been placed at the front showing a plan of the cemetery and also acknowledging the contributions and support provided by Veolia Mulwaree Trust and Hydro Pacific (Taralga Windfarm Fund)."
During the process over 1300 headstones were cleaned, re-graveled and lettering on the headstones was restored with all work done by volunteers. For this a grant of $3500 was obtained from the Department of Social Services to contribute to fuel and landscaping costs.
In total, 187 plaques were purchased and installed. Veolia Mulwaree Trust contributed to 90 of the plaques and Hydro Pacific (Taralga Windfarm Fund) contributed to 97.
"This could not have occurred without the generous contributions received from both Veolia Mulwaree Trust of $17755 and Pacific Hydro of $19000," Mr Chalker said.
"This enabled us to purchase plaques denoting the name of the interred, their date of birth and date of death. The plaques also acknowledge the contribution of Veolia Mulwaree/Pacific Hydro with a logo on the plaque.
The toilet block was built with the assistance of Veolia Mulwaree Trust $8989, Upper Lachlan Shire Council $3000, Simon Neale $2444 and volunteer labour.
Cemetery records have been checked and updated and have been saved digitally.
Mr Chalker said it was impossible to name all of the volunteers who helped to make this project a success but said it attracted a huge amount of interest in the community and a surprising number of local people volunteered their time and energy to assisting with this work.
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