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Henty Cemetery

A five year goal to beautify the Henty Cemetery and to identify about 250 graves was set by Henty’s Tidy Town Sustainable Communities Group as part of the Culture and Heritage Section of the Awards.

 With the assistance of Rotary, the Garden Club and many volunteers our aims have been achieved, culminating in a dinner on Friday, January 21, 2011 to launch a book “Footprints of the Pioneers”. On Sunday 23, a new gazebo, toilet and storage shed will be dedicated by Mayor Denise Osborne of Greater Hume Shire.

 

Since the town centenary in 1986, Funeral Director Edward Dale’s dream was to name the unmarked graves in the cemetery. Using newspapers, old records of deaths, maps, Church archives and old ledgers from 1925, Mrs. Yvonne Booth volunteered to undertake the task.

 

Five years later, 217 unmarked graves have been identified, with more to come. Rotary has provided the plinths, and the plaques have been paid for by contacted family members, and from community fund raising.

 

 A request by a mother of a stillborn baby to hold a service of closure, was met by the local clergy and 200 visitors in May 2008.

 

In October 2008, Mrs. Sujatha Singh, the Indian High commissioner visited Henty to acknowledge the communities effort in recognising two Indian hawkers who are now in marked graves.

 

The service and Greater Hume Shire’s welcome of the High Commissioner is available on video, produced by then student, Krystal Coghlan.

 

The gazebo to provide shade, shelter and a quiet place for reflection was later erected by an appeal for donations and more community fundraising, as well as applying for grants.

 

A new entrance, toilet and storage shed now complete the new additions to Grubben Road, Cemetery. The graves are lovingly cared for by volunteer Ivan Hinch. The planting of red bottle brush, pines and natives make the Cemetery stand o After contacting so many people Australia wide, about the cemetery project, Yvonne realised she had a head full of wonderful stories of yesteryear. This has resulted in a huge effort of interviewing, researching, recording and reading for another group of volunteers.

 

 A social history of the way our early settlers lived and survived is now available in “Footprints of the Pioneers” at $20 a copy. Greater Hume Shire Council and the Royal Australian Historical Society have awarded grants for this project which covers the lives of 120 families.  Book two will cover chapter headings such as Indian Hawkers, the Big Brother Movement, Funeral Directors and Itinerants

 

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