Cemetery Headstones and Monuments
Why is it Significant?
Cemeteries and their gravestones are markers for the community. They are places of
social and spiritual significance.
Why is it at Risk?
Cemetery guardians depend on members of the community to respect headstones and
monuments, some of which may be up to 150 years old. On 13 April 2010 charges were dismissed against four people accused of vandalism at
Brisbane’s Toowong Cemetery in August 2009. According to the online edition of Brisbane Times, solicitors for those charged argued that the
element of unlawfulness could not be proved by the Crown, largely because no one could be certain the defendants did not have permission to
damage headstones, because police had not contacted the owners of the plots.
What needs to be done?
The Queensland State Government should introduce legislation which ensures the
protection of cemeteries against senseless vandalism, regardless of the age and ownership of the headstones. Such legislation should ensure
appropriate penalties for damage to these heritage places.