Boer War graves tour

Restoration team . . . Military historian Peter Trevathan (centre front) and his Bunnings colleagues (from left) Jeffrey Sapsford, Murray Oats, Sheryl Chittock, and Paula Peat work on tidying the memorial of Captain George Tubman, of the NZ Mounted Rifles "Rough Riders", in the Northern Cemetery. Capt Tubman went to South Africa in 1900 to fight in the Boer War, died and is buried there. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Cleaning up a series of graves and memorials in Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery has been a labour of love for a committed team.

Led by local military historian Peter Trevathan, the group of keen Bunnings staff has been hard at work in recent weeks cleaning, weeding, painting and generally sprucing up five Boer War graves and memorials.

The graves will form an important part of a new Southern Heritage Trust cemetery trail, The Boer War Memorials Tour.

The tour, which remembers the military service of the 462 Otago-Southland men who travelled to South Africa in 1900 with the fourth contingent. Many did not return.

eight Boer War graves for the new trail, including contacting relatives.

“What we have learned is included in the trail brochure, which will mean people can walk around the cemetery and read about the men as they go,” Mr Trevathan said.

The project was made possible with the support of Bunnings, which had made it a community project and funded about $5000 in materials and staff time, he said.

Mr Trevathan also thanked Ann Barsby and researcher Richard Hercus, both of the Southern Heritage Trust, for their support.

The rich history of Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery is gradually being unearthed through a growing series of themed trails, including World War 1 and World War 2 graves.

The Boer War Memorials Tour will be launched with a public ceremony this Saturday, November 10, at 2pm, near the Sexton’s Cottage in the Northern Cemetery.

There will be guided tours of the Boer War trail and donations will go towards the work of the Southern Heritage Trust.