Grave markers covered by dirty water

A NIECE says she felt “heart sick” when she found the grave of her favourite uncle was part of a “quagmire”.

Denise Stewart is appalled at the condition of the lawn section of Albury’s Waugh Road cemetery which contains the remains of her uncle Allan Harold Wilson.

He died in 1968, when Mrs Stewart was 13.

On Monday, the anniversary of his death, Mrs Stewart drove to the cemetery from her Wodonga home.

Boggy ground: Denise Stewart in the lawn section of the Waugh Road cemetery where her uncle is buried. She was appalled to find grave details hidden by puddles of water. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

Boggy ground: Denise Stewart in the lawn section of the Waugh Road cemetery where her uncle is buried. She was appalled to find grave details hidden by puddles of water. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

Carrying flowers she arrived in the grassed area and was shocked to find her uncle’s grave plaque under up to five centimetres of water.

“I was so distressed,” Mrs Stewart said.

“I can appreciate we’ve had a lot of rain, but for something as significantly important as it is it was really confronting to see.

“I was very close to my uncle, so to see that I was heart sick.”

Mr Wilson’s plaque was among hundreds that were inundated and left obscured by murky water.

“The whole area is a quagmire and it’s a disgrace,” Mrs Stewart said.

“There were heavy vehicle prints on the graves; it’s just desecration as far as I’m concerned.

“We all accept you die and are buried but to go to a memorial and put flowers there and sink is awful.”

Albury Council, which administers the graveyard, expressed regret over the state of the lawn area which borders James Fallon High School in the cemetery’s north-east corner.

The council’s director of engineering Brad Ferris said Friday’s deluge underlined the area’s poor drainage. 

Painful tracks: Denise Stewart looks over tyre marks left over grave sites at the Waugh Road cemetery.

Painful tracks: Denise Stewart looks over tyre marks left over grave sites at the Waugh Road cemetery.

“Extremely heavy rain recently has saturated many grounds and facilities around town and unfortunately that deluge has affected accessibility for visitors in some sections of the Waugh Road cemetery,” Mr Ferris said.

“This is unfortunate for visitors to the cemetery and we offer our sympathy.”

Mr Ferris said action had been taken to improve the drainage of the area, but it was clear more was needed.

“We have done work to improve conditions at the cemetery, including raising the road, clearing drainage pits and installing barriers to stop vehicles from driving on the lawns but the recent rainfall has been extremely heavy - about 43 millimetres fell on one night alone,” he said.

“There will be further work to improve drainage as part of our the four-year delivery program.”

Mrs Stewart’s husband Alistair, who accompanied her to the cemetery, said the lawn area should be maintained to the level of the military graves section and it was “despicable babies’ plaques were covered in mud”. 

- The Border Mail