Embracing a loved one

GLENMORUS Gardens is a place Albury great-grandmother Maureen Byrnes knows too well.

For more than 30 years, she has visited the grave of her grandson Joshua Constantine, who was stillborn in 1980 and buried at the cemetery.

His little headstone sits among the graves of almost 400 other children and babies who are buried there.

You can spot Joshua’s headstone among the lines of plaques by the multi-coloured plastic windmill that turns in the wind and the small statues of angels that rest beneath it.

“I’ve looked after him for more than 30 years,” Mrs Byrnes, 84, said.

“I always liked to have a windmill there so people, when they come out, they know to follow the windmill.”

Mrs Byrnes welcomed Albury Council work which starts on Monday to beautify the children’s cemetery, dubbed the Garden of Angels, that will also rescue it from flooding and overgrowth.

“It’s going to be more beautiful now with John looking after it,” she said.

The John she refers to is John Vogel, the council’s new team leader at the cemetery, and it’s his job to oversee the works that will take up to 12 months.

“I’ve come down to meet people here and tell them what’s happening. They are a community in themselves — the families that come here,” he said.

On Monday, the plaques will be removed so concrete beams can be placed in the ground to lift the headstones up to stop them being covered by the grass that has been growing over them.

That is expected to take about two weeks, depending on the weather, before work starts to build drainage in the low-lying area so it is not flooded.

Mr Vogel said landscaping would also be done to improve the look and privacy.

“It will give it a nice, closed feeling, like an embrace,” he said.

He said no graves would be disturbed during the works.

Mr Vogel said while letters had been sent to families and he had approached those who visited their loved ones, he feared some had moved away and had not been informed.

He hoped the publicity would help that process.

Mrs Byrnes said the cemetery was a special place to remember Joshua, the son of her daughter and son-in-law Helen and Greg Constantine.

“They held him for just a moment, but they stay in your heart forever,” she said.

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