Graves at the Port Curtis Cemetery have sunk before in the newest section of the cemetery.
Graves at the Port Curtis Cemetery have sunk before in the newest section of the cemetery. Submitted

Subsidence fears linger

SOIL subsidence is not something new at the Port Curtis Cemetery, and another local family has spoken about their fears the issue will continue to keep families apprehensive unless a solution is found.

Dianne Petrinec's father, William Presley, was buried in early March, and several days after the funeral, they returned to the cemetery with her family to find the soil in the grave had sunk by three feet.

Her brother, John, who was returning to Charters Towers, had wanted to say his final goodbye before going home, and it was he who found the grave in its state.

“He called out for us not to come over, as the soil had sunk by about three feet,” Ms Petrinec said.

“It was quite distressing to find it had subsided considerably.”

Rain had fallen steadily on the days surrounding the funeral, but not on the day the family went to the Port Curtis Cemetery.

Immediately, Ms Petrinec placed a call to the funeral home who had handled her father's burial.

“They told me to contact the council,” Ms Petrinec said.

“I was told the subsiding was quite common and the graves were topped up regularly.

“It was quite distressing to find it had subsided considerably.”

Ms Petrinec and her mother, Sheila, go to the cemetery at least once a week, and they rushed there after reading about the sunken and sodden graves in The Observer, and were mortified.

“It was very distressing, especially for Mum, to see he had fresh sand on him,” Ms Petrinec said.

“It ... had been covered over with fresh soil.”

Mr Presley is buried next to John Collins, whose family was quite distraught on finding the condition of the graves on August 12.

“We pay respect to everyone when we are out there and we think of those around Dad as his neighbours,” she said.

But the family remains concerned that the soil subsidence will be an ongoing issue, and would like to see council take action. They also asked why mounds couldn't be placed over the grave sites to allow for the degradation.

“Where did all the soil go? And with all the water in the graves, it's like something from the Victorian times,” she said.

“I wouldn't want anyone to see what we and the Collinses had to see.”

Gladstone Regional Council acting director of parks and recreation Greg Griffiths has stated soil subsidence would be an issue until the earth settled.

Mr Griffiths spoke to The Observer recently and said he would investigate an alternative approach after heavy rain, and staff would be consulted to ensure best measures had been taken.

Mr Griffiths had not responded at the time of this publication.



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