Georgetown Cemetery trustees reappointed

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Georgetown Cemetery trustees were reappointed to their positions at a recent meeting of the Waitaki District Council.

Dr Helen Brooks, chairman of the Georgetown Cemetery Trust, said Georgetown and Papakaio Cemeteries were the only two in the district which were not managed and maintained by the council.

She said her research indicated that the council was responsible for appointing trustees, otherwise they would be operating without legal authority.

The trustees were reappointed under the Burials and Cremations Act.

The grave of Waitaki’s first European settler, Jimmy the Needle, is located in the cemetery.

Mr James Saunders, better known as Jimmy the Needle, was so nicknamed because of his remarkably long legs and his shrewd or ‘sharp’ business deals as ferryman of the Waitaki River.

He met his death while recrossing to the south side of the river after helping people cross on horse back. He and an acquaintance, Dr Williams, were sharing a horse and he fell into the river and drowned.

An early history book on North Otago said that when people wanted to cross the river, they would get Jimmy the Needle’s attention by lighting a grass fire and he would come for them, unless the river was in flood.

By LINDA MCCARTHY