Fence Our Cemetery Facebook group demands action in Griffith

DEMAND: A Facebook page has sprung out of a group of upset families sick of damage done to babies' graves at the cemetery. Picture: Anthony Stipo.

DEMAND: A Facebook page has sprung out of a group of upset families sick of damage done to babies' graves at the cemetery. Picture: Anthony Stipo.

A Griffith woman who set up a Facebook page demanding a fence for the cemetery has vowed to fight until babies’ graves are safe from vandals.

Amanda Rebetzke set up the ‘Fence Our Cemetery’ Facebook page after a second round of vandalism to the infants’ section of Griffith Cemetery.

“We need something to deter these people from vandalising these graves,” Ms Rebetzke said. “It’s not our intention to lock anyone out of the cemetery, we just want to keep the graves safe. I’ve had a lot of people contact me and I’m blown away by the response.”

Ms Rebetzke said a group of people had discussed going to every council meeting until something was done.

“It’s sad we have to do this sort of thing but we need to make them realise we won’t take it lying down,” she said.

However, deputy mayor Doug Curran said council hadn’t received any reports about the issue and had only heard about it through social media and media reports.

“As a council we haven’t received any reports,” councillor Curran said. “I’m not saying it isn’t vandalism, but we need to actually gather some evidence so we don’t make a rash decision that will come back to bite us later.”

The topic was discussed at a recent General Facilities Committee meeting and a report had been called for. Cr Curran said he wanted temporary security cameras in the area to see what the cause of the damage actually was.

“A report could still be two months away, but we want to know what’s causing this damage,” Cr Curran said. “It could be that mowers or whipper-snippers are inadvertently bumping these items, it could be wind or it could even be other children moving things while their parents are there. We’re just not 100 per cent sure it is vandalism, which is why we’re investigating the cause so we’ll be ready when we get the report.”

If the report showed the damage to babies’ graves was caused by vandals, Cr Curran said council would act to secure the cemetery.

“If a fence is what’s needed to make the cemetery safe, then we’ll do it,” he said. “But we need to make sure we do what’s actually needed.”

Cate Catanzariti, founder of the Little Wings support group, said group members often had discussions about security at the cemetery.

“Council needs to put something like cameras in place immediately,” Ms Catanzariti said. “It costs a lot to bury your loved ones and their final resting place should be peaceful.”

Ms Catanzariti said she supported the idea of attending council meetings to keep the issue fresh in councillors’ minds.

“If it’s not talked about it might get swept under the rug, it needs to be in their face,” Ms Catanzariti said.

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