Sheila Kemp points to one of the holes where a weeping rose was removed

September 14, 2013

Nanango businesswoman Sheila Kemp says she is “past angry”, “past shocked” … in fact, she says she could just sit down and cry.

What has made her so upset is the fact that thieves could steal rose bushes from the infants’ section at Nanango Cemetery.

The South Burnett Regional Council has been working on a major upgrade of the cemetery, installing a new fence, marking out a parking area and fashioning a path which will lead up to a small pavilion and a solar-powered fountain.

The Nanango community has joined in the project, donating money to add bushes to a rose garden near the children’s graves.

Sheila, who runs Sheila’s Colour World hairdressing salon in Drayton Street, has been collecting donations and carefully recording and receipting them in a little book.

So far about $1300 has been raised for the project, all donations from the local community.

On June 7, she ordered the first of the rose bushes to be planted in the garden.

Since then, more bushes have been put in by a team of five volunteers who have also been regularly watering the plants.

By the start of this week, a total of 38 rose bushes had been planted: 36 small bushes of red roses and two large Sea Foam weeping roses which were several feet tall.

That’s when the thieves struck.

Sheila said one of the community volunteers, Jim, watered the roses on Monday. He came back on Wednesday to do some more watering and found nine of the small red bushes, which were just about to flower, and the two large white weeping roses gone.

In their place were neatly dug holes.

Sheila can’t believe no one saw the thefts as the thieves must have taken some time to dig out the bushes, especially the two large ones which would have been awkward to handle.

“The roses would have been flowering in two weeks time. It’s so sad,” she said.

Mayor Wayne Kratzmann, who inspected the site today, said the thefts were an “absolute disgrace”.

“How could anyone go into a cemetery, to the infants’ section, to rip out flowers?” he said.

He said Council and the local community were trying to make the area nice.

“This is the worst act of stealing possible. I can’t believe that we have residents in the South Burnett who are as a low as this. It sickens me.”

The thefts have been reported to Nanango police.

Tony Ballin, from Ballin's Boundaries, has been contracted by council to build a wooden fence along the cemetery's border with Nanango-Brooklands Road
Sheila says the two weeping roses were "almost as tall as I am"; some of the neat holes left where the other plants were removed can also be seen
Part of the cemetery makeover includes the construction of a small pavilion and fountain at the end of this pathway

[UPDATED September 17, 2013]

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