Group ef­fort fixes ac­cess to ceme­tery

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

THE Moss­man Gorge Com­mu­nity has been more ef­fec­tively con­nected with its past, with the com­ple­tion of an up­graded river cross­ing con­nect­ing it to the com­mu­nity ceme­tery nearby.

The cause­way across a branch of the Moss­man River to the ceme­tery was prone to be­com­ing im­pass­able due to rain­fall, mak­ing fu­ner­als im­pos­si­ble be­cause hearses couldn’t make the cross­ing, and also mak­ing vis­its to gravesites dif­fi­cult for older mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

The new cause­way, built by the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil us­ing left­over ma­te­ri­als from pre­vi­ous projects, has gone a long way to ad­dress­ing these is­sues.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ba­manga Bubu Ngadimunku (BBN) Emma Burchill said the DSC had been im­mensely help­ful with the project.

“Now be­cause of that work its more ac­ces­si­ble for the older peo­ple to get across there for when we have fu­ner­als,” said Ms Burchill.

The prob­lem had been on the radar of Mayor Ju­lia Leu.

“The ac­cess had been a huge prob­lem as peo­ple and ve­hi­cles were get­ting stuck on the wrong side of the cause­way, at a time of grief and be­reave­ment,” she said.

Ms Burchill said the up­grades also ben­e­fited rangers from Ja­bal­bina, who are work­ing on pre­serv­ing and doc­u­ment­ing older gravesites.

“Their rangers go over there and they do a lot of doc­u­ment­ing of the gravesites and clean up of the grave sites as well,” said Ms Burchill.

She ex­plained that the pre­vi­ous cross­ing, which dropped down to the wa­ter level, wasn’t ap­pro­pri­ate for the com­mu­nity or for the ceme­tery any­more.

“The old bridge had been there for years and years. It was just an old cul­vert and the wa­ter was start­ing to wear it away. So it had holes through it, and when it flooded there was no ac­cess to the ceme­tery at all.”

“There are huge ben­e­fits to the com­mu­nity, be­cause a lot of peo­ple go down to visit the graves and they have a swim down there as well.”

Ms Burchill also said that Ja­bal­bina had helped a lot with the cross­ing.

“Its good to ac­knowl­edge them sup­port­ing that ceme­tery and bury­ing our peo­ple close to our com­mu­nity where it’s ac­ces­si­ble, and peo­ple can go down and visit, and the bridge now has helped with that.”

Cane farmer Don Mur­day owns the land that the cross­ing is on, as well as the ac­cess road to the ceme­tery, and was part of ne­go­ti­a­tions to or­gan­ise the new cross­ing. “Coun­cil has done a great job on the cause­way. It’s likely to be a tem­po­rary fix but I think it’s per­ma­nent, the job was done so well,” said Mr Mur­day.

Pic­ture: SCOTT TIB­BALLS

The Moss­man River cross­ing af­ter the re­pairs. In­set: Be­fore the re­pairs

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