DIG APPROVED: Councillor Sheila Ireland at the Ipswich General Cemetery where the lost crypt of Joseph Fleming was discovered.
DIG APPROVED: Councillor Sheila Ireland at the Ipswich General Cemetery where the lost crypt of Joseph Fleming was discovered. Hayden Johnson

Funding flows to explore 'extremely rare' Ipswich crypt

THE cost of excavating and restoring a historic crypt will be minimal if the Ipswich City Council secures the services of archaeological and film students from the University of Southern Queensland.

Investigations at the Ipswich General Cemetery last year found the "extremely rare" crypt contained Joseph Fleming, who served in Queensland's first parliament back in 1860 and his wife Phoebe.

About $20,000 will be made available for security fencing and CCTV monitoring after the council approved funding at its meeting on Tuesday.

USQ's Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts has provided in principle archaeology services support to the Crypt Remediation Project.

A baby that died during childbirth could also be contained within the crypt.

The university hopes to begin the project in July.

Its School of Arts and Communication has expressed interest in filming and creating digital imagery aspects of the Crypt Remediation Project, which would include a documentary of the work and a virtual-reality tour of the crypt.

The project will begin with the excavation of the crypt.

Remains of the Fleming family will be removed, with a local funeral director and the archaeology team responsible for this process with remains to be held by the funeral director.

Classical Stone Australia has volunteered time and expertise to the rebuilding of the crypt.

The lead stonemason has experience in major heritage projects including Anzac Square in Brisbane and major cathedral works in Brisbane and Rockhampton.

Remains of Phoebe and Joseph Fleming will be placed in new hardwood coffins "with appropriate ceremony and sensitivity".

The crypt exterior will then be backfilled and turfed with a small concrete plaque.

Stairs and an access point will be blocked with a removable barrier and filled in to present an entrance.

The council's officers have acknowledged there are many unknowns about the project.



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