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Notice given 30 July 2003

1679  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to Defence land at Point Nepean:

(1) Is the Minister aware that the old quarantine station includes the original cemetery where around 68 passengers from the Ticonderoga and 33 people from other ships, were buried between 1852 and 1854 (and that a second cemetery, known as Point Nepean cemetery, was established in 1854 and is outside the boundaries of the land being sold, within the Mornington National Park).

(2) Is the Minister aware that markers on the graves were largely weathered away and in the early 1950s army personnel cleaned up the site, demolishing the fence marking the cemetery boundaries.

(3) Is the Minister aware that a few bones dug up during the construction of a drain through the site and remaining monuments were removed in the 1950s to the second cemetery.

(4) Why is special permission now needed to visit the original cemetery.

(5) What is the current status of the original cemetery in terms of heritage protection.

(6) What protection will be afforded to this site from development or other use when under private ownership.

(7) Will the Government consider placing a covenant on this or any other heritage sites.

(8) Are there any precedents for the department selling off historic cemetery sites.

(9) Other than the monument to the dead installed in 2002 outside the estimated boundary of the original cemetery and paid for by the ‘Friends of Quarantine’ and descendants of families with links to the cemetery: (a) what does the Government intend to do to preserve the important history of the site; and (b) will the descendants of those early settlers be consulted about any such proposals.

(10) Was there an archaeological survey done on the cemetery site during the public consultation period in 2002.