A NEW local component has been added to this year’s Bathurst Macquarie Heritage Medal – the Chifley Heritage Award. The award, which will be announced on May 6 at the Bathurst Macquarie Heritage Medal and Bathurst Regional Heritage Awards dinner, will go to the project that demonstrates the most outstanding contribution to the built, natural or cultural heritage of the Bathurst region. In the weeks leading up to the dinner, the Western Advocate will be profiling several of the nominations.
It has been a mammoth effort by the Bathurst Family History Group across the past few years, but the group has managed to repair over 1000 headstones that have fallen into decay or been vandalised.
The repairs have involved members of the group, community volunteers and C3 prisoners from the Bathurst Jail.
During the third updating of the cemetery database by the group, over the past 30 years, it was noted that there were many headstones in need of repair.
Bathurst Family History Group’s Graeme Hill said over 1000 headstones have had some degree of restoration, plus another 100 that were vandalised by three children in 2014.
“The headstone restoration has varied from minor re-attaching of loose plaques through to piecing together major damage and straightening of headstones and monuments in danger of collapse,” he said.
“We have been mindful in our restoration of doing as much as necessary but as little as possible, with the hope of preserving the original integrity of the headstones.”
The group investigated the location of graves of prominent citizens who lay in unmarked graves and has resolved to erect a memorial annually for a prominent citizen who fulfils this criteria.
Plaques were re-attached to headstones and badly broken headstones or memorials were pinned and joined using a two part fixative called Megapoxy.
Some leaning memorials are underpinned and straightened if in danger of future collapse.
A suitable memorial was constructed and a dedication ceremony was arranged for unmarked graves of prominent citizens.
Research linked graves in the cemetery and the history of that person over the past 150 years and printed documentation was produced in relation to the various graves and their history.
This is being funded by grants, funds contributed by tours and the Bathurst Family History Group funds.
The Bathurst Family History Group maintains a database of all 20,000 known burials in the cemetery and the group produced a searchable CD of the whole cemetery during 2014.