Significant improvements have been made to the Bundaberg Lawn and General Cemetery to improve its appearance and preserve the history of the region’s cemeteries.
Thousands of burial records dating back to 1879 have been scanned and recorded electronically.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was a big job for staff who had to individually scan each sheet of fragile and, at times, irregularly shaped paper.
“This is an important accomplishment, not just for the ease of staff accessing records now available electronically, but to preserve this historical information,” Mayor Dempsey said.
Four years in the making, he said instead of becoming a monotonous task for staff it was embraced due to the importance of the initiative and the many interesting facts discovered.
“The very first burial plot in the Bundaberg General Cemetery that remains in its current location belongs to Hannah Elizabeth Thompson and dates back to late August 1873,” he said.
“Staff also came across familiar names in the records including Richard Ruddell, Bundaberg’s first mayor.
“Major events including outbreaks of diphtheria and natural disasters can also be traced through the records.”
Bundaberg Lawn and General Cemetery changes
Mayor Dempsey said visitors to the cemetery may have noticed some other changes slowly taking shape.
“We have been working on a number of projects to improve the appearance of the Bundaberg Lawn and General Cemetery,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Improved signage has not only modernised the cemetery’s appearance but, when installation is finalised, will make it easier for residents to locate their loved ones.
“A number of roads have been resurfaced and tree planting has been undertaken along the side of internal roads.
“This will all help towards beautifying the area and creating more shade.”
Other works include an upgrade to the outdated Columbarium building and toilet block.
Office upgrades have also enabled the installation of new public seating.
“Previously, family members who have come to make arrangements for their loved ones have not had a formal seating area or an opportunity to view current plaque options,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Now they can complete the necessary paperwork in a more dignified area and easily choose between the available plaque options.”
He said it was part of an ongoing plan to revitalise cemeteries across the Bundaberg Region.