Grand­mother re­veals grave se­crets

Albany Extra - - News - Michael Traill

Un­til 2014, 15 peo­ple had been laid to rest at Darkan ceme­tery in un­marked graves, with lit­tle in­di­ca­tion those graves had some­one buried within at all.

Now those graves are named and clearly marked by metal frame perime­ters — All but one, sim­ply marked “the un­known child”.

These graves have only been named and given proper recog­ni­tion be­cause of four years of work and re­search done by Dar­da­dine res­i­dent Lani Mundy.

“I went up to the ceme­tery one day with my grand­daugh­ters, try­ing to find their grand­fa­ther’s and great-un­cle’s graves, and as we were walk­ing along I said ‘be care­ful, you could be walk­ing over some­body’s grave’,” Mrs Mundy said. In re­sponse, her grand­daugh­ters asked “well why aren’t they marked?”.

This set Mrs Mundy on a jour­ney, which is still on­go­ing, tak­ing her from Katan­ning to Perth.

Mrs Mundy told her grand­daugh­ters to give her a year; by which time she’d have all the graves named.

“It took a bit longer than a year,” she said.

Mrs Mundy was able to iden­tify 11 graves through pain­stak­ing re­search in the Shire of West Arthur’s burial in­dex.

She be­lieves the burial in­dex had been copied from an orig­i­nal, with mis­takes in the trans­fer­ence of in­for­ma­tion.

The peo­ple in the un­marked graves were buried be­tween 1917 and 1968.

How­ever, four of the 15 could not be iden­ti­fied from the in­dex, with no names and no dates of burial.

Us­ing hunches and any in­for­ma­tion she could source from lo­cals, Mrs Mundy tracked down fam­ily mem­bers of three of the graves and fi­nally iden­ti­fied those who lay within. One still re­mains, a child buried in the ceme­tery’s Roman Catholic sec­tion. Ini­tially be­lieved to have been buried be­tween 1930 and 1933, Ms Mundy now thinks it must have been be­fore 1930.

Pic­ture: Michael Traill

Lani Mundy and the grave of the un­known child.

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