Graves at Bight Cemetery in Wingham damaged by December storm

The effects of the storm that uprooted trees and caused so much damage on December 20, 2018 are still lingering.

Two of the fatalities of the storm were two large golden cypress trees that edged the road border of the Bight Cemetery in Wingham. 

MidCoast Council was quick to dispatch a crew to attend to the fallen trees, but their removal revealed further problems - some of the graves that were in the path of the downed trees were damaged.

A Wingham resident became aware of the damage when she visited the cemetery the day after the storm, to find a family member's grave partially covered by a fallen tree. At that time, the grave's headstone was still intact. However, it became broken when workers removed the tree.

Some of the headstones were completely split in two as they hit the ground, and some had the blocks with the inscriptions broken off. Some of the broken headstones were very, very old. 

MidCoast Council is still in the process of cleaning up around the region after the storm, and now the Bight Cemetery is on their agenda. 

"While council doesn’t have a responsibility in maintaining private memorials within cemeteries, we do have a responsibility to ensure monuments don’t pose a risk to the public," council's Daniel Aldridge said. 

"Should a monument be identified as posing a risk to the safety of others, we will take measures to eliminate the risk. If contact details are available we do advise the family of  any actions taken.

"We are in the process of assessing and rectifying the monuments where required," Mr Aldridge said.

Related reading: Storm clean up progresses

Further questioning of council was required, however, as upon viewing the damaged graves at Bight Cemetery at least one did not look as if it would post a risk to the public but still needed repairing. There was also a question as to who would repair the damage seeing it was caused by either the trees themselves or removal of the trees on council property. 

MidCoast Council replied that even if any of the graves did not technically pose a risk to the public, all of the graves damaged by the trees or their removal would be fixed by council.