This has been an excellent year for the Trust. Our finances show income for the year of $29,046. In the last four years we have raised $154,073 for the purposes of conservation of historic cemeteries. Our administration expenses are minimal and we still have $51,062 unexpended, including $24,965 for the Chinese Graves Project in Dunedin’s Southern Cemetery.
This has remained relatively constant.
Conservation Management Plan Northern Cemetery
There has no progress yet on implementing this Plan. We are having ongoing dialogue with the Heritage Rose Society and the Dunedin City Council over the management of recently planted and older roses.
Conservation Management Plan Southern Cemetery
Our lobbying of Councillors and submission at the 2007 LTCCP hearings was rewarded with Council allocating $25,000 toward cemetery conservation at the Southern Cemetery, the fund to be managed by Community and Recreation Services. Some selected trees have been removed and the Eglinton Road boundary has been fenced off as a preliminary to planting a new hedge. We are raising further funds to remove more trees.
A family commissioned the replacement of two cast iron panels for their family grave in the Northern Cemetery. This was a first for us and after much research we selected Gillies Metaltech in Oamaru to cast the two new panels using as a pattern one panel which had to be temporarily removed from the gravesite. Removed and installation was by a local blacksmith working to traditional standards.
Tours were held in conjunction with the Otago Settlers’ Museum programme as follows:
8 April 2007 Northern - Musicians
14 October 2007 Southern
10 February 2008 Southern - Celtic week tour
In May 2007 we initiated a project to utilize the historic resource resident in all historic cemeteries. We thank The Southern Trust for agreeing to fund this project.
In December we advertised for a project manager and were pleased to appoint Ann Trewern. Her task is to prepare user-friendly web-based modules for teachers. As of 31 March Ann is well into the task.
Standing up headstones
This work continues in Dunedin with grants from various sources, and seems to be gaining momentum around New Zealand.
Chinese Graves Southern Cemetery
Many broken stones have been pinned and glued together and stood up, and progress has been made on the installation of new granite headstones to replace those which were not repairable or not able to be identified.
Alan Dunbar assumed the role of fundraiser in October 2007 and has had some good success.
In October 2007 Jennie Henderson accepted the challenge to become the project manager for this task, her first priority being to raise the money to restore the tomb.
Morgue Conservation Plan
We were pleased to receive $1,000 from The Dunedin Casino Trust towards the cost of this project, which leaves a further $7,000 to be raised.
We have not been in such demand as in previous years which is probably a reflection of our lower public profile over the year.
We agreed to run a 4-Seminar Series for the Mosgiel U3A, which began on 27 March 2008.
Our occasional Newsletters continue to be well-received. They are 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 much favourable comment and a wide readership.
Dunedin author Neville Peat has agreed to write the biography of Robert Arthur Lawson, architect, and Longacre Press have quoted to publish it. We need to find some $42,500 to bring this project to fruition.
The last wooden grave marker extant in the Northern Cemetery has been conserved and re-erected in sympathetic fashion. A black granite interpretation plaque has been placed in front of it.
Waikouaiti Tumai Cemetery
A working party composed of Dunedin East Probus Club has removed some rogue bushes and trees but much remains to be done.
12 May 2007, Port Chalmers Old Cemetery with Rotoract Club Members
17 May 2007, Waikouaiti Tumai Cemetery with Andersons Bay Probus Club members
29 May 2007, Port Chalmers Old Cemetery with Rotoract Club Members
Southland District Council
On 12 June 2007, a submission was made on the condition of the historic cemeteries in their area, with particular reference to the old Otautau Cemetery.
Mount Street Catholic Cemetery
The local committee are active and putting in place moves to begin the conservation of this cemetery.
In August 2007 we prepared a Conservation Report for Central Otago District Council on the Naseby Cemetery and they started the process with $2,000 seed money, and since then Pub Charity have contributed a further $5,000, leaving about $4,000 to be found before we begin the standing up of 10 badly eroded stones.
It has been a very busy year with conservation enquiries coming in regularly from all over New Zealand. I extend my thanks to my trustees and management board without whom we would not have been able to maintain our present momentum.
Thanks also to Dunedin City Council councillors, and Alan Matchett, Team Leader, Botanic Gardens and Cemeteries, and Cemeteries staff, for their support and help in so many ways.
Historic cemeteries are important to the spirit, life, economy, and sense of history of their local community. Investment in them is a way to recognize contributions made by earlier generations.
17th May 2008