DUNWICH Cemetery has become an unofficial car park for ferry users, with people parking in the historic burial ground.
A North Stradbroke Island resident who declined to be named said the cemetery had become an overflow parking site for the nearby One Mile ferry terminal and the problem was gradually worsening.
“It’s just not appropriate,’’ he said. “There is insufficient public parking at the ferry and people are taking advantage of cemetery parking.”
People were aware that they were parking on cemetery grounds because they had to drive through the signposted gate.
The cemetery is Queensland Heritage Council-listed and one of the most historically important sites in Queensland, let alone the Redlands.
Its heritage listing says it is one of Queensland’s earliest surviving cemeteries, reflecting early European settlement of North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Bay from its convict days.
Burials include those of passengers from the 1850 typhus epidemic which occurred aboard the ship Emigrant and those of the doctors who treated them when North Stradbroke was used as a quarantine station.
About 8500 people are buried there from the Benevolent Asylum, with the heritage council saying this reflects 19th century government policies and community values that saw the poor, elderly, infirm and diseased isolated from mainstream society.
The resident said the cemetery had cultural heritage significance for indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
He said council had to supply more ferry parking, police the area and perhaps look at better cemetery signage.
“People are simply exploiting an opportunity,’’ he said. “There’s over 10,000 graves in there, most of them unmarked, and people are parking very close to them.’’
A council spokesman said cemetery parking signage and the delineation of vehicle parking would be investigated to better reflect the cemetery and its use.
North Stradbroke Island transport issues also were part of council’s transport strategy review.
“...Discussions with a range of public and private stakeholder interests have ... highlighted that there are significant physical, ownership, environmental, economic and cultural heritage constraints to resolving One Mile passenger ferry commuter parking demands,’’ he said.
“Additionally, council has separately called for additional state funding as fundamental support for the island’s economic transition from mining and to support transport and other infrastructure needs as well as maintaining the island’s high cultural and environmental values.’’
Dunwich is the second oldest official cemetery in Queensland, though Quandamooka people point out that there are many much older resting places for their people.
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