Council workers bulldoze gravestones in cemetery by mistake

Council workers bulldoze gravestones in cemetery by mistake
  1. Council workers bulldoze gravestones in cemetery by mistake
    A council worker crashes his work truck into several historic headstones at a graveyard in WA's…
    Western Australia
By Sarah Taillier

A regional shire is cleaning up the damage after one of its employees accidentally crashed a truck into historic headstones at a graveyard.

Residents in Northam, 100 kilometres north-east of Perth, were disturbed when they stumbled across smashed headstones at the town's local cemetery late last week.

The Shire of Northam, which manages the site, said a staff member was undertaking maintenance in a historic area of cemetery when their truck became bogged in sand.

President Steve Pollard said the driver was trying to free the truck when they lost control of the vehicle, which ploughed into a number of headstones.

Some of the headstones in that area of the cemetery date back to the 19th century.

"The truck shouldn't have been there in the first place and the employee should have known to take more care," Mr Pollard said.

"Obviously from the shire's point of view, we're mindful of the fact that historic sites and grave sites are very sacred.

"We're certainly trying to do our best to make it as right as we possibly can."

It is understood the driver accidentally used reverse when trying to manoeuvre the vehicle out.

The shire said it would repair the damage.

"We certainly regret the fact that the incident occurred and hopefully the headstone is not that badly damaged and can be replaced," Mr Pollard said.

"If it does, it does."

Council reaching out to descendants

Mr Pollard said roughly two grave sites were damaged, though residents said the number was higher, without providing evidence to back up that claim.

The shire took over responsibility for the maintenance of the cemetery from a long-term contractor this year.

It said it was trying to contact any direct descendants linked to the damaged gravesites.

"If there are any direct family around that we can find we will certainly let…