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Media releases

Statement on the headstones reinstatement at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery.

Issued: 7 April, 2021

Headstones reinstated at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery

The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT) is pleased to announce the completion of our historic headstone reinstatement project at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery.

The reinstated headstones were removed by the previous administrator of Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery in the 1980s and transferred to a storage shed at the cemetery where they have remained undisturbed. Many of the headstones were in poor condition and/or posed a risk to public safety at the time of their removal.

GMCT’s CEO, Deb Ganderton said: “Although responsibility for the maintenance and safety of individual headstones rests with the right of interment holder or their descendants, cemetery trusts do have authority to make corrective works in circumstances such as we see at Coburg.

“GMCT, which is a not for profit, self-funding organisation has used its own money to reinstate the headstones. Reinstatement of the headstones was at no cost to the families of those people interred.

"Our motivation with this project was to respect the rights of the deceased and their families.  A key challenge for us was to find the gravesite locations for the headstones that were removed and to try and alert affected families.

“We thoroughly searched the cemetery records, conducted geographic information system (GIS) mapping of the site, and sent correspondence to the families of those whose headstones were reinstated. Throughout this process we worked closely and effectively with the Friends of Coburg Cemetery and we thank them for their efforts,” Ganderton said.

To preserve and protect these fragile headstones, they have been reinstated on individual concrete plinths which feature a slight gradient to allow for water run-off.

The president of the Friends of Coburg Cemetery Inc., Julie Stratford said the reinstatement of the headstones was an excellent outcome.

“We at Friends of Coburg Cemetery are delighted that this project is now complete. It's exciting to think that after decades, these memorials are now back where they belong,” Stratford said.

“Even though many of these people are long forgotten, their gravestones will be back in public view, reminding us of the people who walked these streets before we did and of their lives and loves of long ago,” she said.

More information about the headstones reinstatement project is available at gmct.com.au/coburg-headstones

COMMUNITY EVENT

GMCT is hosting a community event to celebrate the completion of the headstones reinstatement project from 10.00am to 11.30am on 11 April, at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery.

ABOUT GMCT

Established in 2010, GMCT is a self-funding Class A Cemetery Trust regulated under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 (Vic). We report to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and are governed by a Trust appointed by the Minister for Health.

Our operations cover the north, west and east regions of metropolitan Melbourne, and we manage 19 cemeteries plus two greenfield sites, including the greenfield site at Harkness. 

We are a trusted partner supporting Victorian families through their experiences of life, death and grieving. We provide burial, cremation and memorialisation services to meet the needs of our diverse communities, and we encourage families to plan ahead.