Early in the year I had embarked on a project to investigate in more detail, the history of both my maternal and paternal family trees. Part of the process was to locate the resting place of my Australian ancestors. On my paternal family branch of the tree, I located three ancestors who were in unmarked graves. My Great Grandmother, my Grandmother and my Grandfather were all in unmarked graves.
The initial search did locate the grave of my Great Grandfather, James O’Connor in Swan Hill, who died on his property at Ultima in 1903 aged 62, however his wife Janet Margaret, or Jessie as she was known, lived on for many years. She died in 1940 at the age of 92. It appears that she was buried with James, but there was no reference to this on the grave stone. It is somewhat puzzling that her burial place is not marked. She had three daughters and two sons living at the time of her death. It may have been due to the size of the gravestone and the cost of having it transported to Bendigo and engraved again.
Further investigation revealed that the cemetery records were incorrect in relation to Great Grandmother’s resting place. The O’Connor family that she was shown as being buried with, were no direct relation to my family. When I presented my evidence to the Swan Hill Cemetery Trust, the records were amended.
In June 2020, suitable plinths were purchased from Benalla Vibrated Concrete Products, and three stainless steel plates were laser engraved by Benalla Trophy Centre. My brother Ken, myself, and two friends made plans to travel to Swan Hill to mark the graves and call on the only surviving auntie from my maternal family, who still lives in the Swan Hill township. The timing of the travel was postponed a number of times due to the Covid restrictions, however on Monday 5th October we travelled to Swan Hill. The region was experiencing some much needed rain, however Tuesday 6th dawned fine, so it was decided to proceed with the plan to clean the existing grave and place the two markers in the region.
20th February 2021.
PS: Anybody planning on a similar exercise should be aware that some cemeteries do charge you for the approval to place grave stones or markers. Fawkner and Manangatang did not charge, however Swan Hill charged $90, and I had to lodge a detailed submission prior to placing the marker. If the application is declined, they keep the $90.