Historic De Salis Cemetery restoration complete

Released 01/03/2013

The ACT heritage-listed De Salis Cemetery, located on the banks of the majestic Murrumbidgee River at Tharwa, has been returned to the community after the completion of extensive restoration works, Manager of Operations, National Park and Catchments, Brett McNamara, said today.

"The De Salis Cemetery is a rare example of a 19thcentury pastoral station cemetery. It is of unique construction, comprising a raised circular terrace with walls of local stone," Mr McNamara said.

"During severe storms in December 2010 and January 2011 the stone wall of the cemetery collapsed as the earth subsided. The walls continued collapsing due to recurring heavy rain in 2012 and the presence of wombats burrowing under the site.

"Staff from ACT Parks and Conservation Service, ACT Heritage Unit and construction contractors have rebuilt and restored the walls using the collapsed stone in a pattern that replicates its original design.

"The raised site has been further stabilised by the installation of internal gabion walls (wire and stone reinforced blocks), the compacting of soil and landscaping to control rain run-off.

"Construction was also assisted by the use of ground penetrating radar to locate potential unmarked burial sites. This important data helped guide contractors to ensure that minimal disruption to graves occurred during the work.

"The ACT Heritage Unit and Heritage Advisory Service provided ongoing feedback on the most appropriate methodology for the site's restoration throughout the planning and construction phase. External heritage experts were also engaged to ensure works were in accordance with the site's heritage plan.

"The 135 year old De Salis Cemetery is the resting place for some 16 members of the De Salis family and employees of Cuppacumbalong station. These works to restore this significant site will ensure the heritage and conservation values of our early European history is preserved and shared for future generations," Mr McNamara said.


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