Children's graves restored

Otago Peninsula Museum  and  Historical Society members (from left) Brenda Cameron, secretary...
Otago Peninsula Museum and Historical Society members (from left) Brenda Cameron, secretary Laural Dunn, Glen McGregor and president Warren Morris at the restored Cape Saunders cemetery on the Otago Peninsula. Photo supplied.

The neglected graves of the lighthouse keeper's children buried at Cape Saunders more than 100 years ago have been restored.

Otago Peninsula Museum and Historical Society secretary Laural Dunn said the graves of the two children inside a picket fence on the eastern tip of the Otago Peninsula were in a ''terrible state'' and took a ''few days'' to restore.

The society approached the Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust of New Zealand for the funding for restoration supplies so she and fellow members Brenda Cameron, Glen McGregor and president Warren Morris could weed, repair cracks in the concrete and repaint the picket fence and grave headstones. Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust chairman Stewart Harvey said Neville Mann reproduced the original wording on the headstones. Buried inside the picket fence are 2-year-old Ellen Henaghan, the daughter of assistant lighthouse keeper Patrick Henaghan, who died after a fire in 1883.

A newspaper reported a fire starting in an outbuilding, where children had played with matches, he said.

The other restored grave was Ellen's 1-year-old brother, Thomas, who died of meningitis about three months after his sister, Mr Harvey said.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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