• Headstone names, dates and epitaphs appear on plaques mounted on old timber, repurposed from the Church Point Cargo Wharf upgrade 

Friday, 2 August 2019

Weathered timbers recovered from an old cargo wharf have been repurposed to help preserve the memory of eleven long-ago pioneers whose humble village chapel gave Church Point its name.

Northern Beaches Council recently re-opened its busy Cargo Wharf at Church Point following a $1.46 million upgrade of the facility, greatly improving its functionality, amenity and safety.

During the upgrade works, some of the old timbers that helped support the original cargo wharf were recovered.

Now the weathered wooden slabs have found a surprising new purpose – telling the stories of pioneer folk who lie in the tiny Church Point Historic Cemetery overlooking Pittwater.

The cemetery used to adjoin the weatherboard chapel and school that served the area from 1872 until it was demolished in 1932 - leaving the little graveyard behind.

Graves in the cemetery (dating from 1882 to 1918) include those of tiny Lily Fahl who passed away aged at just six months, two-year-old Rosamund Creagh and 21-year-old Alice Johnson. They also include venerable local parishioners William Oliver (who donated the land for the church and cemetery site), Jane Skillicorne, Millie Austin, all who lived well into their seventies, among others.

However, the headstones commemorating them are now beginning to fade, topple and crumble away.

So, staff from Northern Beaches Council have teamed up with volunteers from local firm Monumental Masons - Northern Memorials to ensure the memory of the pioneers don’t fade, too.

The team has placed metal plaques recreating the tombstone names, dates and epitaphs afresh; each plaque mounted on its own solid wooden block sitting discreetly at the foot of every grave.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan congratulated both Council staff and the Monumental Masons volunteers.

The rustic timbers from the wharf are in perfect keeping with the age, character and tone of the pioneer cemetery. 

Funding for new grave-markers was provided to Northern Beaches Council as part of the NSW Government’s ‘Heritage Near Me’ grant program.

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