Founder far from home

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Talitha Wolfe

Bare­ley a trace re­mains of the once lengthy in­scrip­tion carved into the head­stone of the found­ing fa­ther of Al­bany, Ma­jor Ed­mund Lock­yer.

Buried along­side sec­ond wife Sarah Mor­ris, the fi­nal rest­ing place of Maj. Lock­yer is un­recog­nis­able as lichen cov­ers the mon­u­ment in Cam­per­down Ceme­tery, Sydney.

Maj. Lock­yer carved him­self into Al­bany’s his­tory when he sailed into King Ge­orge Sound aboard the brig Amity on De­cem­ber 25, 1826 to claim Western Aus­tralia for Bri­tain.

The Devon-born English­man first ar­rived in Sydney in April, 1825, but was in­structed to es­tab­lish set­tle­ment on the west coast of Aus­tralia amid Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment fears the French were plan­ning to es­tab­lish a colony there.

Maj. Lock­yer re­turned to Sydney in 1827 be­fore he died of in­fluenza on June 10, 1860 in Wool­loomooloo, NSW.

Cam­per­down Ceme­tery Trust chair­woman Jenna We­ston es­ti­mates it would cost $10,000 to re­store the sand­stone mon­u­ment above Maj. Lock­yer’s grave.

“As Ed­mund Lock­yer’s grave mon­u­ment lies flat, rain of­ten soaks in and the text has be­come some­what dif­fi­cult to read,” she said. “There is also a build-up of lichen in ar­eas which could be scraped back, but in line with the con­ser­va­tion ap­proach in the ceme­tery, we do not rec­om­mend clean­ing the head­stone as this can dam­age or erode the orig­i­nal sand­stone fab­ric.

“The trustees are some­times able to ar­range for restora­tion of the graves of prom­i­nent in­di­vid­u­als, or mon­u­ments that have been re­cently dam­aged; how­ever, we es­ti­mate that on av­er­age it would cost at least $10,000 per grave for re­pair works.”

Ac­cord­ing to The Ar­gus on January 12, 1931, Maj. Lock­yer’s son Ni­cholas Col­ston Lock­yer had the fol­low­ing in­scribed on his fa­ther’s head­stone: “As com­man­dant at King Ge­orge’s Sound Ma­jor Lock­yer hoisted the Bri­tish flag on January 21, 1827, in as­ser­tion of the first of­fi­cial claim by the Im­pe­rial Gov­ern­ment to Bri­tish pos­ses­sion over the whole con­ti­nent of Aus­tralia.”

Ms We­ston said the ceme­tery trustees acted in a vol­un­tary ca­pac­ity to main­tain more than 2000 grave sites but restora­tion was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the fam­i­lies.

“Main­te­nance of grave sites are the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the rel­a­tives of peo­ple in­terred in Cam­per­down Ceme­tery, and oc­ca­sion­ally rel­a­tives choose to re­store their an­ces­tors’ graves,” she said.

“As there is no guar­an­teed Gov­ern­ment fund­ing for such restora­tion works, the ceme­tery is said to be in ‘grace­ful de­cay’, as the cost of at­tempt­ing to re­store each stone re­quir­ing re­pair is pro­hib­i­tive.

“Nev­er­the­less, the trustees use the ceme­tery’s lim­ited in­come to main­tain the grounds, and to un­der­take as much restora­tion and con­ser­va­tion works as pos­si­ble, in ac­cor­dance with the ceme­tery’s con­ser­va­tion pol­icy.”

Al­bany founder Ma­jor Ed­mund Lock­yer’s grave in Cam­per­down ceme­tery, Sydney.

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

The Pa­rade Street site where Ma­jor Ed­mund Lock­yer raised the Bri­tish flag.

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