Cemetery grant to make a difference in Baryulgil
BUNDJALUNG elders say a $62,000 NSW Government grant is going to make a world of difference to their lives.
The money, presented to elders of the Baryulgil Local Aboriginal Land Council yesterday, will allow local families to have certainty over graves sites in the small cemetery where everyone in the village has family buried.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the grant would pay for ground penetrating radar surveys of grave sites to identify the exact resting places of the people buried there.
Elder Lana Mundine said the money would also allow visitors free access to the cemetery, which is on the grounds of Yulgilbar Station.
"We always had to go to the station and ask them to open the gates for us, which they have been happy to do,” Ms Mundine said. "But this will just make it simpler and easier for everyone.”
She said visitors were sometimes locked in when staff closed the gates without realising people were at the cemetery.
CEO of BLCALC, Scott Monaghan, said the cemetery was one of the last in the country where families dug the graves for funerals.
He said identifying where people were buried could allow the use of a mechanical digger for new grave sites.
Mr Gulaptis said the project would empower the Baryulgil community to maintain the practice of connection to country through the care and identification of burial sites
"Equally importantly, the cemetery is now officially gazetted as an Aboriginal Place by the NSW Government in recognition of the site's significance to the Bundjalung people,” Mr Gulaptis said.
The declaration of an Aboriginal Place gives public recognition and protection to Aboriginal heritage places under NSW state legislation and celebrates places and events important in the Aboriginal history of NSW.
He said it was important to note the assistance and support received from Yugilbar Pastoral Company, as well as owners Sarah and Baillieu Myer.