Mandurah Pioneers’ graves in continued state of decrepitude

Sutton’s graveyard on Halls Head is in a neglected state.
Mandurah Pioneers’ graves in continued state of decrepitude
Sutton’s graveyard on Halls Head is in a neglected state.

MANDURAH’S pioneers would be turning in their graves if they could see the state of the graveyard in which they are buried.

So says a nearby resident who is horrified at the historic graveyard’s overgrown and rat-infested state.

The graveyard was shifted some years ago from Suttons Farm to a site on the corner of Picaroon Parade and Finisterre Island Retreat, Halls Head because of proposed canal developments.

It contains the gravestones of John, Henry and Eleanor Sutton and, due to its high historical and cultural significance, was placed on the State Registry in 2000.

The resident said the graveyard was in a park frequently used by the public.

“We must respect our history,’’ she said.

“It’s disgraceful our pioneers are being treated in such a disrespectful manner.

“To say they would be turning in their graves is an understatement.’’

Acting city chief executive Tony Free said the council was committed to preserving and maintaining parks and reserves and encouraged residents to call 9550 3777 for requests so appropriate actions could be taken to ensure the sites were maintained to suitable standards.

“In this case it is a unique situation, as there is still a family connection to the grave site,’’ he said.

“The reserve and the graves are on Crown land but it is not the council’s direct responsibility to maintain grave sites.

“The public open space guidelines over the reserve required the graves to be fenced.”

Mr Free said liaisons had occurred in the past with the family and the council had committed to help with general maintenance and planting in the grave sites and nearby entry statement.

He said further communication would be needed around the future maintenance of the site.

Suttons Farm is a local landmark.

The big barn and working men’s quarters built before the main house are in their original condition and the subject of much development-related controversy in recent years.

Joseph Cooper bought the farm from the Sutton family in 1924, although it continued to be managed by the Suttons until bought back by Tony Sutton in 1949, when he formed a partnership with his brother Hal.

In the late 1980s the farm was owned by Halls Head Estates and the buildings were expected to be preserved, irrespective of any future development.