Waterlogged plots at the Port Curtis Cemetery yesterday, the degradation apparently due to the recent rainfall.
Waterlogged plots at the Port Curtis Cemetery yesterday, the degradation apparently due to the recent rainfall. SUBMITTED

Graves sink in rain

A GRIEVING family has been left devastated after a gruesome discovery yesterday morning at Port Curtis Cemetery.

Debbie Colborne and daughter Taya were left feeling nauseous after arriving to find at least a dozen sunken graves, many full of water.

“One you could see a bit of the coffin, it made me feel sick,” Debbie said.

The family buried their father John Collins on June 19, the plot situated in the newer section of the cemetery, and Taya fell to the ground in distress at her grandfather’s graveside.

“Dad’s was sunken about three foot,” Debbie said.

“The ones at the back (of Mr Collins’ plot) were full of water.”

This latest grief comes on top of burying Lyndon Collins, their brother, in June last year.

Critical of the degraded graves being left in full view, the Collins family felt the council should have taken steps earlier, including covering the plots with tarpaulins.

Debbie said family members visit the grave sites early in the morning.

“I just thought there might have been more respect for them.”

“My mum was going to come out, and I rang her in time to say don’t.

“I know she would have dropped to the ground in devastation, and we would have ended up with her in hospital.”

The council was contacted and informed Debbie they would more than likely have it done by today.

And the amount of rain that fell on Tuesday night into Wednesday left the family bewildered at how much soil erosion had taken place, as well as the level of water bubbling away in graves.

“I could understand if they’d sunk an inch or two, but the grave two down from Dad’s, you could see the flower on the coffin.”

Brother Tim Collins also called Member for Flynn Chris Trevor’s office to alert the politician about the horrendous situation.

Mr Trevor was made aware of the issue immediately and asked acting Mayor Gail Sellers to look into the problem.

Soil compacting is not a new occurrence at the section of the cemetery, according to Tim.

“I come out here a fair bit to have a beer with my brother and father, and on at least 20 occasions I’ve had to fill in Dad’s grave with soil and stamp it down,” he said.

A council employee was at the site filling in graves, and was reportedly pumping out the water.

Gladstone Regional Council acting director of parks and recreation Greg Griffiths said he sympathised with families, however soil subsidence would continue until the earth settled.

“We had a fair whack of rain, but understandably the families are upset,” he said.

Mr Griffiths questioned whether a coffin would be visible, given the depth they are buried is at 2.2 metres. He said he would investigate whether a different approach can be taken in the advent the saturation occurs again.

“We need to talk to staff about going forward to make sure we’ve done our best, and we may have to look at bringing in turf.”

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