24 July, 2022
Finding loved ones past
MORE than 30 visitors, volunteers and history buffs attended the Mareeba Pioneer Cemetery on Costin Street this month in an attempt to seek answers to where some of town’s pioneers are laid to rest.
Most of the visitors were descendants of many Mareeba pioneers who forged the foundations of the town and are buried at the historical cemetery.
The all-day event organised via the Mareeba History Facebook page, invited people to attend the cemetery to see if any unmarked graves could be located for their descendants.
Throughout the day, much cross referencing, inspections of marked graves and working out the methods of the many different sequences of how the plots were numbered identified 14 unmarked graves.
Event volunteer organiser Michael Musumeci said he was surprised at how many people turned out to find the graves of their relatives.
“We were quite astounded how many good folk arrived, keeping our volunteers quite busy, in locating these unmarked graves of their loved ones,” he said.
“Our Pioneer Cemetery is rich with history, and deserves so much respect.
“This cemetery alone is an encyclopaedia of Mareeba history – from our first pioneers, to World War I and II Anzacs, including many immigrants who made Mareeba home, the cemetery is rich with history, tragedy and folk who paved the way for our township and district.
“It truly deserves so much more and it would be great if the cemetery had a serious upgrade on presentation alone.”
Mr Musumeci said volunteers were quite successful in locating a number of unmarked plots.
“But sadly we also couldn’t locate a small number.
We wished we could have answered every unsolved enquiry,” he said.
“If anyone within the district has any added records of the cemetery, in particular plot numbers and burial sequences, please make contact on our Facebook page.
“Over the years sadly many of the steel plot numbered markers have been removed and bunched up under trees or placed on other graves.
“This has also confused the issue but with sound research from many of our great members and the added help and support of our volunteers, we can solve many of these issues.
“We hope to organise another open day event to our members just like this successful one, so more families who are wanting to locate unmarked graves can attend.”
Currently, people on community service orders from the courts are cleaning up the many overgrown graves and keeping the grass well mowed.
“It’s great to see that this community service embodies the community spirit and respect, and all involved should be commended for their efforts,” Mr Musumeci said.
Anyone who is interested in history or the cemetery, can keep up to date by joining the Mareeba History Facebook page which has more than 6800 members.
“Through the page, we share our diverse history, unite old friendships and enrich our Mareeba history in every effort for our future generations to honour, remember and never forget,” Mr Musumeci said.