Southern Downs Regional Council’s cemetery supervisor Mark McGowan cleaning up at Warwick Cemetery before a funeral service this week.
Southern Downs Regional Council’s cemetery supervisor Mark McGowan cleaning up at Warwick Cemetery before a funeral service this week.

Mark recognised for cemetery work

BURYING a loved one is undoubtedly one of the toughest tasks anyone can face.

Four years have passed since Veronica Wallace buried her 15-year-old son in Warwick Cemetery, but she’ll never forget the help and support she received from cemetery supervisor Mark McGowan.

“He was wonderful,” she said.

“He talked to me, helped me talk to the people I needed to talk to and helped me pick a plaque.

“I had not long buried my parents when my son died and he made sure all the family was together.

“He really just goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

Ms Wallace was at a funeral this week when she and a group of the congregation began to notice just how “beautiful” the cemetery had become.

Nominated as spokeswoman for the group, she said, “The gardens are wonderful and we just thought he really deserved some recognition for the work he’s done”.

In 11 years, Mr McGowan has transformed Warwick Cemetery and when the Daily News met with him yesterday, we were told of several future plans.

“It’s really all about being organised,” he said.

“There are only three of us, but we work very closely together and spend a lot of time planning.”

The cemetery staff are responsible for burials in all the former Warwick Shire cemeteries, as well as maintenance at Warwick, historical research, administrative work, helping with plaques and array of other duties.

“When we take on staff, it doesn’t matter that they can cut grass or brush cut, they have to be able to talk to people too.”

Mr McGowan said his vision for the cemetery was to make it a place people feel comfortable visiting and his design is created around that, with hedging surrounding the children’s section, private seating and plans to introduce a similar arrangement to the lawn cemeteries.



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