Nice work: The fully-restored 'lone grave' and monument of Glenorchy's Constance Davidson


Seven visiting monumental masons recently volunteered their time to complete cemetery restoration projects in Glenorchy and Queenstown.

The masons, from Dunedin, Gore and Invercargill, first fully restored the ‘lone grave’ in Glenorchy of local woman Constance Davidson, who was one of the signatories of the women’s suffrage petition in 1893.

In 1907, aged just 39, she met an untimely death due to an accident involving a horse and, because she was a Catholic, her grave was positioned outside Glenorchy’s cemetery.

More than 100 years later, a horse, ironically, knocked over her headstone, breaking it in two.

While a helpful member of the public tried to repair the headstone, it fell again within a few years.

When the masons visited, only a small portion of her upturned headstone was visible, the rest having been buried in undergrowth.

Buried: Only a small portion of Constance Davidson’s headstone had been visible

After this portion was craned out, the lettering was releaded and the monument was fully restored inside the iron-fenced grave site.

Descendants of Davidson have reportedly said they’re ‘‘over the moon’’ at the result.

Dunedin-based Lisa Morton, past president of the New Zealand Master Monumental Masons’ Association, says there’s an orange staining on the monument that will fade to pure white in the next two to three months.

On the same visit, her group also rescued several historic headstones in the Queenstown Cemetery that had tipped over onto adjacent monuments.