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Batemans Bay Cemetery Improvement Committee says Thank You

On a rare sunny Monday morning this week, a thank you morning tea was put on by the ladies of the Batemans Bay Cemetery Improvement Committee to thank those who have contributed in recent times to the appearance of the town cemetery.

This group of ladies incorporated in 2003, prompted by the unattractive presentation at that time of the town cemetery and the fact that three of the group had babies buried there, which has ensured a strong personal link to the space and accounts for the longevity of their organisation.

The first graves at the cemetery date to the early 1900’s and at that time, the cemetery was placed a good distance from town, as was the practice. Little did the residents at that time foresee how Batemans Bay would change from the little fishing village which it was, to the town it has become today. The growth and importance of Batemans Bay in the intervening years, means that commercial development has made its way from the main street right up to the northern boundary of the cemetery on one side, while the western boundary is the busy main road at the Bunnings intersection.

Always working in conjunction with Council the ladies have successfully lobbied and fundraised over the years for sealed roadways, designated parking, fencing and plantings to screen unattractive areas, directional signage both within the cemetery and externally. Their proudest achievement is probably the stone Batemans Bay Cemetery sign at the entrance. They also lobbied strongly when the traffic lights were first discussed to ensure the safe passage of cemetery visitors. They also lobbied for many years for increased plots which resulted in the addition of the lawn cemetery being added in 2017.

In more recent times, the group applied for a grant to refurbish the very shabby inurnment buildings and eventually Council was awarded money via Andrew Constance and the State Government in 2019. The Council allotted the balance of funds from their budget to complete the refurbishment which has produced an enlarged and much smarter space. Then came the bushfire and although the new structure was spared, the fire destroyed much of the boundary bush, the fence, substantial plantings and of course businesses in adjacent Hughes Street.

But good rains this year have restored the vegetation marvellously. Most recently the ladies arranged for new denominational signs to be erected and as the cemetery now also has a new fence, inurnment seating, new plantings on two boundaries and is overall looking very spick and span, due to a very committed team of Council workers, the ladies wanted to thank all who have worked so hard and contributed. Unfortunately, Andrew Constance was unable to attend, but they were very pleased to welcome Council Staff, Members of the Men’s Shed and Ron Price Signwriter.

The groups’ Mission is to provide “a place for peaceful reflection in pleasant surroundings” and although much has been accomplished, their work continues, although nearly twenty years later, not quite as actively!

Present the picture members thee Men’s Shed, Warren Sharpe (Director Infrastructure Services ESC), Mark Swadling (Design ESC) and David Bohun(Parks Co-Ordinator ESC), Vince Newman(Batemans Bay Parks Supervisor) with four members of his staff, Ron Price Signwriter and Jeannie Brewer and Karen Ennis from the Batemans Bay Cemetery Improvement Committee.

Leonie May is the photographer and member Robyn Edgar was unable to attend.