WHEN Roger Juchau visited the Murrurundi Lawn Cemetery two years ago, he was disgusted at what he saw.
After returning to the site this week, not much had changed.
He claimed a section of the cemetery was being deliberately damaged by vandals.
“What’s clearly happening here is they are pushing over headstones and smashing flower vases,” he said.
“Worse still, beautiful wrought iron plot surrounds have also been stolen.
“Presumably the relatives or descendants might not be alive or don’t visit the cemetery, so they wouldn’t know what has happened.
“It’s appalling how much the older area of the cemetery has gone downhill.
“Rural cemeteries are one of the most important and accessible sources for the study of a local community and are important attractions for tourists.
“It reflects badly, not on the town, but just in the sense that you’ve got an historic site that dates back well into the 19th century that is not being preserved.”
Mr Juchau had gone to check on the plots of his forebears, James Juchau (d.1897) and Charles Juchau (d.1923).
Charles was elected as the first mayor of Murrurundi council in 1890.
Upper Hunter Shire Council’s general manager Waid Crockett said certain parts of the cemetery were of concern.
“However, the old headstones are the property and responsibility of families and after, in some cases, a century there is inevitably subsidence around graves,” he said.
“It is also unfortunate that parts of the cemetery are susceptible to vandalism.
“Council owns the land the cemetery is located on and is responsible for maintaining the vegetation.
“The recent heavy rain has made it more difficult to get equipment in to undertake maintenance.
“Council plans, where possible, to contact relatives of the damaged sites to see what can be done around repairing the plots.”
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