Historic Wagonga cemetery no longer forgotten

UP Wagonga Inlet, on a small area of land that time has largely passed by, is the small Wagonga cemetery with the remains of at least 62 early residents about a quarter of whom are children.

Thanks to the initiatives of Narooma Historical Society and Eurobodalla Shire Council’s heritage consultant Pip Giovanelli, this land will now be looked after well into the future and the people buried there recognised appropriately.

The site is owned by the Uniting Church and access is difficult.

“One of Pip’s key recommendations in the Draft Management Plan he has prepared and given to us for the site is that we form a Friends of Wagonga Cemetery for the ongoing care and appropriate management of the site,” said Narooma Uniting Church’s Rev David Oliphant at an on-site gathering last Tuesday.

Mr Giovanelli urged the gathering to work through and finalise the plan according to what will best work for them, with an emphasis on minimum intervention, treading lightly on the ground, and following basic heritage conservation guidelines.

He referred to recent work at Tilba cemetery as a good example.

Narooma Historical Society president Susan Pryke said a small Wesleyan church had been built on the adjoining lot by 1866 and was used in the 1870s.

“But we don’t yet know what happened to it,” she said.

“Through our research we know the names of 62 people buried here, both Church of England and Wesleyans, but the few headstones record the names of only 10 of them.

“We have a heritage grant from council for a plaque to record their names but we realised erecting a plaque was only part of what the site required.

“We are grateful to council and to Pip for developing this draft plan for our community.”

Rev Oliphant asked anyone in the wider community interested in being a Friend of Wagonga Cemetery to please contact him on 4473 7838.

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