AS many as 40 marble monuments at the Ballarat old and new cemeteries could be in line for removal unless something is done soon, according to a concerned resident.
Grant Tillett, a retired stonemason, said many of the monuments dated back to the 1800s, were handcrafted and would be nearly impossible to get in Australia.
“The monuments are generally made of the same vintage as the Stoddart collection and the Statue of Ruth and as such are virtually irreplaceable,” Mr Tillett said. “They are part of Ballarat’s heritage.”
Mr Tillett said removal of the monuments required “laying them down” which resulted in destroying the Italian marble at a faster rate.
Last week, Mr Tillett spoke at the City of Ballarat meeting, asking the council to develop a policy to preserve the monuments in the old and new cemeteries.
“Other parts of the Old Cemetery ... have a heritage overlay on them ... but the monuments, which are the core of the cemetery, have no heritage overlay.”
City of Ballarat growth and development director Eric Braslis said officers would continue to investigate options to protect heritage assets within the Ballarat Old Cemetery to ensure its ongoing preservation.
“Following those investigations Mr Tillett and the Cemetery Trust will be invited to an assembly to discuss the maintenance of the monuments in May,” Mr Braslis said.
Mr Tillet was instrumental in restoring the Chalmers and McNeil monument in the Old Cemetery last year.
Ballarat General Cemeteries could not respond before The Courier went to print.