By Maureen Schnitker.
(Request from Babara Rae-Venter form California USA) Click on the images to enlarge
Trying to find a particular grave in Stellawood Cemetery is not easy. The grave numbers which were once on a metal plate have been stolen a long time ago. We still find the odd metal grave number when we excavate vandalized gravestones which have been pushed over, luckily my son and his friends come with me on a Saturday afternoon to help me as some of these gravestones are very heavy. You just have to look on the website at those that are brown and sometimes broken to see how many we actually have to dig out.
Before I went to the Cemetery Eleanor Garvie sent me a copy of the Cemetery Block Book where the names appear so that I could see the names of the people buried on either side in case the grave did not have a gravestone, I then telephoned the Office to get an idea of where this section actually is. Cyril who works in the office and is of great help to me, knows the cemetery like the back of his hand, directed me from the X Block which we are working on at the moment , but I think when you know an area so well you perhaps miss a point or two so although we did get lost we knew more or less where it was, drove around until we saw the “W” marker. Had to scramble up a steep embankment to the top. Not being numbered you don’t know at which end you are, the top or the bottom, so my son, a friend and I just looked at every gravestone and of course as Murphy’s law would have it we were actually at the bottom end. After we had looked at all the gravestones and not found it we decided to look again more closely, it was at the top end. It is a small gravestone and the surname is not as pronounced as some of the others, my son actually found it and cleaned it, I just did the photographing.
Fortunately there was no embankment on this end so did not have to scramble down, sent my son to fetch the car and pick me up on that side, it was actually a lot closer to where we were working than where we started looking.
It gives me great pleasure to be able to help loved ones far away and unable to come to the cemetery themselves which I think apart from capturing the history this is one of the aims of the eggsa gravestone site. We are seeing so many gravestones which are being vandalized as is this one, the angel at the top is missing and is nowhere to be found. This grave has been bought outright so it will never be recycled.
We need to get the photographing of this cemetery done as quickly as we
can. The large gate on the left-hand side of the cemetery has been broken for who knows how long so vandals have easy access day and night and there is not a section that has been left untouched by them. So with recycling, weathering and vandals we never know how long this history will remain there.
The attached photo taken on 31 May 2014 is from left to right, me, Lyn Paul, Rose Mc Arthur and my son Henry Rudman, it appears in the Durban and Coastal latest newsletter.
This how Barbara's initial request read: "I am hoping you may be able to help.
Two of my Grant cousins, Thomas (died 1st August 1943) and James (died 5th March 1942) are buried in South Africa. I have copies of documents that suggest they are buried at Stellawood Cemetery."