Annual Reports

Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2005

Conservation Management Plan
The Conservation Management Plan for Dunedin’s Northern and Southern Cemeteries was completed early in 2005 and has been endorsed by Dunedin City Council management and we are now working through the development of protocols to put into effect the recommendations of the Plan. We have run familiarisation tours for all City Councillors and were very pleased with their encouragement for our cause. 

Tours were held as follows during the year
Port Chalmers
19 Sept 2004, was poorly attended because of very bad weather.
10 Oct 2004, 56 persons enjoyed this tour.
21 October 2004, for 22 members of Dunedin East Probus Club
28-10-04, for 20 members of University of Otago Staff Families Assn

New tours are being prepared for Dunedin’s Northern and Southern Cemeteries.

Standing up headstones
We were very encouraged by generous funding received from the St Kilda Tavern Trust for restoration work in Dunedin cemeteries. We have worked closely with Dunedin Monumental Masons and I Bingham and Co to select 25 monuments where the foundations are satisfactory and which could be stood up. Stainless steel pins have been used in all joints to eliminate future damage. Already the Southern is looking better.

R A Lawson Memorial
The discovery that the grave of Robert Arthur Lawson, Architect, had no memorial, and he being someone who made a nationally significant contribution the architecture of Otago’s and especially Dunedin’s built heritage, we initiated a project to raise a fitting memorial to Lawson on his grave in the Northern Cemetery.

The design, in the form of a grey/green granite obelisk, was approved and accepted by the Lawson family and the dedication and unveiling took place on Sunday 3 April 2005 at 2pm.

The New Zealand Master Monumental Masons Association agreed to contribute to the cost of supplying the stone, form the footing, engrave the memorial, and erect the stones, as part of their 2005 celebration of 60 years as a professional trade association. The balance of the cost, $3,000 was contributed equally by the Lawson family, the NZ Institute of Architects, Southern Branch, and New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Otago Branch. Thanks to the Southern Heritage Trust for supplying afternoon tea at the Sextons Cottage.

Lawson Book
Following on from research undertaken for the memorial unveiling we concluded that Lawson deserved to have a book written about his life and work. We are currently searching for someone who would be able to do justice to this project.

Stephen Deed book
Stepehen obtained his MA degree on the strengths shown in his thesis on “Cemeteries in New Zealand”. We have approached the University of Otago Press and they are keen to see Stephen re-write the thesis in a form suitable to be published in book format. Wendy Harrex is reading the thesis and discussions will be ongoing.

Speaking Engagements
This year we have spoken to the following groups -
St Andrew’s Home Group, 23 April 2004
Dunedin West Probus Club, 1 June 2004
St Clair Women’s Club, 6 September 2004
University of Otago Staff Families Assn, 14 Oct 2004
Christchurch Heritage Week at Holy Trinity Church, 16 Oct 2004
Caversham A.P.W Group, 18 October 2004
Otago Ladies Coffee Club, 21 October 2004
Otago Ladies Coffee Club, 2 December 2004
Probus Club- Dunedin South, 2 February 2005
Dunedin Rotary Club, 3 February 2005

This list suggests that we have communicated our aims and objects to well over 600 persons.

Our Newsletters continue to be well-received and this year we sent them out in June, November and January. It is a very good way of keeping everyone in touch with what is happening in the world of cemetery conservation.

Stories in Stone
Our column in each Saturday’s Otago Daily Times continues to attract favourable comment, and help readers to gain some insight into the proud heritage we have in Dunedin’ forbears.

Magazine articles
During the year we had major coverage in both The New Zealand Genealogist and Heritage magazines.

Lawrence Friends Group
This group is active and they have held their first public cemetery tour which was successful.

Auckland Waikumete
In December 2004 I visited Waikumete Cemetery and had a close inspection of the old area. Waitakere City have a Conservation Plan and there is an active Friends Group. I am concerned about the state of the old part of this cemetery and there is a considerable amount of work required to begin its conservation.

Lawson Lecture
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust Lawson Lecture for 2004 was presented by Christopher Betteridge. Chris has a special interest in cultural landscapes, particularly historic parks, gardens and cemeteries. He has been Chairman of the Gore Hill Memorial Cemetery Trust and a member of the Joint Committee of Necropolis Trustees for Rookwood Cemetery, the world's largest Victorian-era burial ground. Chris was Cemeteries Advisor to the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales) for six years and has worked on conservation management plans for several significant historic cemeteries in NSW.

Chris and Margaret, his wife, have since completed the Conservation Management Plan for Dunedin's Northern and Southern Cemeteries for this Trust.

I visited Wellington at the invitation of the Wellington City Council. He visited Bolton Street Memorial Park, Karori Cemetery and Mount St Cemetery. Discussions with WCC staff focused on Best Practice and the proposed Conservation Plan for Bolton Street.
A tour of Bolton Street Memorial Park with the Friends group was most interesting historically, yet worrying from a conservation perspective. Parts of Bolton Street are in good condition but some major areas have begun the slide back to nature. I communicated to the Council my concerns over its conservation.

The Friends of Mount Street had been in recess for some years but it was obvious that Mount St Cemetery was in some urgent need of resurrection before it was reclaimed by nature. After fruitful discussion with the Catholic Diocese (owners of Mount St) Vaughan Stagpoole has agreed to assume responsibility for re-awakening the friends group, addressing the issues in their Conservation Plan, and getting something done on the ground.Karori Cemetery is an amazingly beautiful setting. Again it is well kept in some areas and wilderness in others. They have in place a well prepared Conservation Plan and WCC are working along its recommendations.

Heritage Week

We took this opportunity to make a public presentation of “Do’s and Don’ts of Cemetery Conservation”. This was held in Holy Trinity Church, Avondale, attended by a an audience of about 25 people and followed by a tour of the attached graveyard with historian Richard Greenaway – in the pouring rain!

Addington Historic Cemetery and Linwood Historic Cemetery
Meetings have been held on site with Christchurch City Council officers and agreement reached that they have proceeded to let a tender for a Conservation Plan for Addington Cemetery.

It has been a very busy year with conservation enquiries coming in regularly from all over New Zealand. I extend my thanks to our trustees without whom we would not have been able to maintain our present momentum. The time is rapidly approaching when we will have to add more resources to adequately handle all the enquiries for help and advice which are coming in. Thanks also to Hope and Sons for assistance with printing of leaflets, and to Dunedin City Council, counselors and employees for their support in many ways

Stewart Harvey
Chairman 26th April 2005