A CALL for help in the pages of this newspaper last year has led to five new appointments to the Bellbrae Cemetery Trust.
Established in 1864, the cemetery is one of the last independent cemeteries in Victoria and is the final resting place of many of Torquay’s earliest pioneers including Gundry, Duffield, Grossman, Bubb, Cunningham, and Rosser, and many local surfing greats such as Tantau, Emmerson, Pettigrove, Raynor and Yateman.
The trust wrote a letter to the editor (“Old cemetery needs young blood”) in August, with 16 applications received as a result.
The five successful candidates – with experience in fields such as drainage, building and people management – chosen by the trust’s governor have hit the ground running, sourcing quotes to attend to much-needed maintenance at the cemetery due to the spring and summer growth of bush and weeds.
The trust appointed the Department of Correctional Services to attend to weeding, mowing, and pruning at the cemetery under a continuing maintenance plan.
The clean-up has been planned since at least January and began on February 24 – not in response to reports in the media – and will continue throughout the year.
The trust has also moved to assure some onlookers who were concerned about the trust employing prisoners, stating that many cemeteries in Victoria use the services of the Department of Correctional Services, as a way of contributing to the community and saving the trust funds. The trust pays for the supervision of the low-level (for example, non-payment of fines) offenders, and trustees also supervise on a voluntary roster basis.
Trustees have also attended to the planning to open the cemetery’s eastern section, which will cover burials for the next five years, and eventually the northern section, which will last well into this century.
The trust is planning to create a “Friends of the Bellbrae Cemetery Group” and hope those wishing to volunteer will meet with the Trustees to help co-ordinate plans for their activities.
For more information on the trust, contact the trustees or phone the secretary on 5261 3055.