Community & Business

9 September, 2023

Grave attack prompts call for security cameras

AN Atherton woman whose mother’s grave has been attacked twice in the past two months is asking Tablelands Regional Council to install CCTV in a bid to stop the culprits.

The mother’s grave before the attack where all the items were removed.
The mother’s grave before the attack where all the items were removed.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, says she is angry and sad at what has happened to her mother’s grave, and is fearful those who have taken the items around the grave will start to do more damage at the Atherton Lawn Cemetery.

“My mother’s grave has been desecrated twice at Atherton Lawn Cemetery. It is time for security cameras to be installed to deter these callous individuals who have no respect for our departed loved ones,” she said.

“It really hurts.”

Up until the first attack, the grave was surrounded by plastic flowers, around 20 small pebbles that were positioned around the plaque and a small piece of wood. All items just disappeared overnight.

“I would understand if it was a ‘grab and run’ thing but it astounded me the effort they went to to take the time to pick up all the pebbles,” she said.

The woman then placed a small plaque that had the word “mother” and a black frame which she glued onto the cement and placed two plastic bottles of rocks and sand either side of the grave and left some artificial flowers.

“I toyed with not putting anything there but decided it looked bare so I placed all these items there and even glued some of them,” she said.

“It took two weeks for them to be smashed and one bottle of rocks was gone and the other fallen over.”

The woman even went and looked into nearby bins to see whether the items were thrown in the rubbish. 

She was so incensed by the desecration of the grave, she took the smashed pieces to Tablelands Regional Council to inquire as to whether work crews may have removed the items or may have damaged them during mowing.

“They were very sympathetic but couldn’t tell me how the damage has occurred – no one knows because there are no cameras to capture what’s going on,” she said.

“I know there have been more than just my mother’s grave that have been targeted because when I went to buy some more artificial flowers, the shop assistant said to me ‘Another one, you’re the second person who has come in today with the same issue’.”

The woman believes the damage and theft of items is mostly likely “youth up for a bit of fun” but fears if they continue to get away with small incidences, they may be tempted to do much more damage to more sophisticated grave sites like the mausoleums.

“Before we get total disaster, let’s shut the gate before the horse bolts,” she said.

“We need to nip this in the bud – it’s time we had security cameras there.”

But a Tablelands Regional Council spokesperson said council had not received any other complaints or reports of suspected vandalism at its cemeteries this year.

“We pride ourselves on maintaining our cemeteries to a high standard given their importance to the community,” the spokesperson said.

“We are aware of these incidents and have met with the person concerned. We have not received any other reports of suspected vandalism at our cemeteries this year.

“We understand any damage to a grave would be upsetting and encourage people to report any problems to us. There are no current plans for CCTV at the cemetery.”

Mareeba’s pioneer cemetery was the subject of extensive vandalism in July when more than 30 graves and items at those gravesites were damaged – the fifth such time the facility had been targeted by vandals.


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