A TAFE New England community initiative has resulted in the
restoration of a local cemetery and the Aboriginal elder who led the
project being nominated for a prestigious award.
Len Waters says he had always felt a strong spiritual connection to
the Toomelah mission cemetery. However, like a lot of other Toomelah
locals, he'd been saddened to see the cemetery's decline over recent years.
"A lot of the old wooden crosses were falling over and some of
them were rotted out," he told the Northern Daily Leader.
"The headstones were painted without the names being put back on.
There were a lot of people lost there."
So when TAFE New England spearheaded a campaign to restore the
cemetery, Len was eager to be involved.
The project saw the expansion of the cemetery area, identification of
unmarked graves and the creation of a rest area, gravel works and the
planting of native shrubs and trees.
Participants in the project were awarded Certificates II and III in
Construction, Certificate II in Civil Construction Statements of
Attainment in first aid, weed spraying, reading GPS systems, working
in confined spaces and WHS training.Len's tireless and passionate work
on the project has been formally acknowledged. He has been nominated
for a Premier's Award for Public Service in the Improving Government
Services category. Len's involvement was as a TAFE New England