Repair works at Cobar's cemetery underway

THE resting places of those whose graves were torn apart in the March 25 Cobar cemetery attacks were on their way to being fully restored.

More than $60,000 pooled through a range of community initiatives will be spent literally piecing back together a string of grave sites, some of which date back more than 130 years, Cemetery Committee chair and Cobar Shire mayor Lilliane Brady said.

Cr Brady said the community had not yet fully come to terms with the devastation it awoke to that fateful March morning.

Several community fundraisers helped contribute to the cost of repairs, which was originally estimated at between $70,000 to $100,000 for the repair of more than 70 headstones.

"Arriving at the cemetery that morning I just felt competely sick in the stomach," Cr Brady said.

"It's still heartbreaking to think about," she said.

Nine grave sites are being completely replaced and a further eight having major repair works carried out. Minor works are also being carried out on several other sites, while some families have chosen to wear the costs of repairs to their own loved one's burial spots.

Eumungerie-based Orana Headstones and Monuments was commissioned to carry out repairs on the 17 of the worst-effected graves, which had no known relatives still living in the area.

Proprietor Jenny Coleman has begun the painstaking task of reconstructing the numerous inscriptions and piecing together the fragmented marble left desecrated in the attack.

"I've never seen anything like it and we've never been involved in a project of this sort of scale before," she told the Daily Liberal.

"We've estimated it could take three to four months to finish."

Cobar Shire Council technical services manager Tim Wark said added security would become a vital talking point when council resumed in the new year.

Both the council and the Cemetery Committee will consider using any balance from the repair work to invest in security cameras.

"I think it would have the support of the community," Mr Wark said.

Despite a $10,000 reward for the person who could lead prosecutors to a conviction over the damage, those responsible remain at large, prompting renewed calls from local and Darling River LAC police for information.

While police were hopeful, a Darling River LAC spokesman a breakthrough was unlikely eight months after the event.

reid.jermyn@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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