House debates

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Constituency Statements

Orange Family History Group

4:28 pm

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party, Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I rise to pay tribute to the amazing volunteers at the Orange Family History Group who work tirelessly to document and celebrate the rich and diverse history of Orange and the Calare electorate. The Orange Family History Group is committed to identifying the unmarked graves at cemeteries in Orange and the Orange region which have been vandalised, deteriorated or fallen into disrepair. Their tireless work allows historians, history buffs and those seeking to find out more about their family histories and stories to access vital information which otherwise would be lost forever.

As late as last Friday, members of the group informed me that they had added 28,217 images to the existing 26,536 registered headstone entries. This is a remarkable achievement in which they can take great pride. There are many volunteers who do great things at the Orange Family History Group with little fanfare and acknowledgement, and all of them give so much to ensuring that our history and heritage in the Central West are preserved. I would especially like to acknowledge Sharon Jamieson, Lynne Irvine, Therese Lord and Julie Milne. There are many more volunteers behind the scenes who do not want to be acknowledged publicly, and I want the Australian parliament to record its appreciation for their compassion and commitment. I'd also like to acknowledge Orange city librarian Julie Sykes, who works closely with the members of the Orange Family History Group. Thank you, Julie, for your ongoing support. I'd like to congratulate all those at the library who have given their time and assistance.

This project is long and arduous and requires the volunteers to capture every unmarked grave. Incredibly, the Orange Family History Group made a chance find whilst researching the history of our diggers from World War I. Through their work they discovered the unmarked grave of William Wrangham, a returned veteran who passed away after suffering from wounds received from being gassed in the First World War. He was a driver in the Australian Army veterinary hospital, in both England and Calais. This extraordinary discovery, driven by Sharon Jameson, ensures that one of our diggers, who served our nation when it called, is never forgotten. William Wrangham's grave is now marked. I attended the service in December 2020 at the gravesite, and I was very pleased that members of his family were there. I'd also like to acknowledge the members of the RSL sub-branch in Orange for organising that event.

On behalf of the Australian parliament, I pay tribute to all the volunteers at the Orange Family History Group, who, with great determination, are quietly working away to ensure that important pieces of our history and heritage in the Central West are preserved for future generations.

Photo of Ian GoodenoughIan Goodenough (Moore, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In accordance with the resolution agreed to on 17 June 2021, the time for members' constituency statements has concluded.