Members of the Coonabarabran DPS (Dead Persons Society) Local & Family History Group Inc. recently unveiled
Some 150 people were welcomed to the site to commemorate over 760 people interred in ‘unknown’ gravesites in the vicinity of the Old Coonabarabran Cemetery. For the last four years the group have been working tirelessly to raise funds to provide a wall and stainless steel plaques inscribed with the names of these people.
Finally, on the 17th September, 2016, our efforts were rewarded when the Mayor of the Warrumbungle Shire Council, Mr. Peter Shinton, unveiled these plaques. Mr. Kevin Humphries, MP, State Member for Barwon, during his address, expressed his high opinion of the project outcomes.
Along with the unveiling of the Memorial Wall, DPS member, David Rayner, launched our latest publication, ‘More than a Name on a Wall’. This 288 page edition contains the researched stories, photos and newspaper clippings of people listed on the wall. The group received a substantial grant from Southern Phone to assist with the publication of this book.
The newly constructed landscaped area around the wall provided shelter and seating, enabling people to spend time in pleasant surroundings,
while remembering relatives or friends who are buried in the vicinity.
Our story began in 2012 when we approached the Warrumbungle Shire Council outlining our vision of a wall, to display plaques engraved with the names of persons interred in unknown burial sites. Council then allocated significant funding to assist in carrying out this project.
The Rotary Club of Coonabarabran made a substantial cash donation to start our fund raising effort. They also donated seating as well as helping at the unveiling and book launch.
Namoi Valley Bricks Pty Ltd very generously donated 1,200 bricks for the Memorial Wall and Brad Thompson, bricklayer, donated his skill and expertise to construct the wall and the concrete slabs. Funding for the stainless steel plaques and engraving was provided by a significant donation from Partridge Bros. and The Signcraftsman from Singleton, together with funding from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal Small Grants for Regional Communities, known as the FRRR. MPL Kuras constructed the shelter protecting the wall and manufactured and generously donated the powder coated supporting stands for the directional signage.
The landscaping of this site was possible with funds made available through a Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Stronger Communities Program Grant, sponsored by the Australian Government through Mark Coulton MP, Federal Member for the electorate of Parkes.
The day concluded with an enjoyable afternoon tea which included two celebration cakes donated by the Coonabarabran Bakery.