A very successful day was had by all on 21 June 2023 with the Maryborough Monumental Cemetery Qld celebrating its 150th Anniversary, otherwise known as the Sesquicentenary. The weather did not disappoint, as the day started off with Maryborough’s legendary Town Crier Ken Ashford welcoming guests who had come from far and wide to commemorate the occasion.
With guests seated alongside the heritage listed Mortuary Chapel, a Welcome to Country by the Butchulla people with a smoking ceremony, before Mayor George Seymour officially opened proceedings. This included a very informative speech by Maryborough Friends of the Cemetery on the history of the cemetery, followed by a talk from a lady named Dalerie Paterson who is a relative of the very first person to have ever been buried in the cemetery in 1873. She was a young girl named Ada Purser who died at the age of 7 years old. Her father John Purser had been instrumental in selecting the location of the new cemetery.
The Mayor then unveiled the Sesquicentenary Commemorative Plaque at the Chapel, before taking guests for a short stroll through the cemetery grounds to the previously unmarked grave of Charles Heny Crystall. Charles was part of the contracting firm Crystall and Armstrong, which built many of Maryborough’s city buildings including the Maryborough City Hall. A dedication was conducted on the site after local monumental masons J Kirk & Son Monumentals had donated a granite plaque to identify the grave of man who had made significant contributions to the town that still remain today.
Guests then made their way back to the Chapel to enjoy a scrumptious morning tea provided by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Maryborough. Following refreshments, guests were invited to participate in some of the day’s activities which were conducted by volunteer members of the Maryborough District Family History Society. They included guided tours, symbolism talks and workshops on cleaning headstones, and had been carefully put together and repeated throughout the day to ensure that no-one would miss out.
During the guided tours, participants were provided with some fascinating insights into the symbolism of many of the different monuments throughout the cemetery grounds, which was very informative for both members of the public, and cemetery staff alike. Fact sheets on some of the various symbolisms were provided to guests to take home and no doubt encouraged them to continue seeking further information on the history of some of the various structures and their origins and meanings.
Fact sheets were also provided to those who participated in the cleaning of headstones workshops. These workshops were very well attended, with people discovering the graves of relatives through family history research proving to become increasingly popular with patrons to the cemetery in recent years.
Guests were also treated to workshops and displays by the group ‘Urban Sketchers’ who set themselves up in various sites throughout the cemetery, demonstrating their craft and sharing their skills and knowledge on the various mediums used to create beautiful images of the cemetery’s structures and grounds.
Feedback from the attendees on the day was very positive, with just about every person who was there complimenting the Cemeteries team on the high standard of maintenance for the seven cemeteries the Fraser Coast Council are responsible for in the region.