Joseph Flemming was member for West Moreton in the 1860s.
Joseph Flemming was member for West Moreton in the 1860s.

Search for ‘missing’ MP at cemetery of mystery

PROVING no political secret stays buried forever, work is under way to unearth the final resting place of one of Queensland's first politicians.

 

Joseph Flemming was member for West Moreton in the 1860s.
Joseph Flemming was member for West Moreton in the 1860s.

 

Joseph Fleming was a member of Queensland's first parliament, serving as member for West Moreton from July 1860 until November 1862, and again from September 1866 until July 1867.

He was buried along with his wife Phoebe in an underground crypt in Ipswich General Cemetery, with the exact location of the site apparently forgotten over the years.

Archaeological detective work from experts at University of Southern Queensland using historical records combined with modern methods such as ground-penetrating radar pinpointed the site last year.

 

Ipswich General Cemetery grave of James Ryan who claimed he was Dan Kelly of the Ned Kelly gang. Picture: JamesRobertson
Ipswich General Cemetery grave of James Ryan who claimed he was Dan Kelly of the Ned Kelly gang. Picture: JamesRobertson

 

USQ professor Bryce Barker said work started on Wednesday to dig down to the crypt.

"We have come across some big pieces of dressed stone which is indicative of some kind of crypt structure," Prof Barker said.

"What we are trying to find is the outline of the crypt but at the moment we are just getting this rubble and stone."

 

Part of the structure is believed to have collapsed and the goal of the researchers is to excavate the site fully, restore it and rebury it with appropriate markers to indicate its historical significance.

USQ film students are producing a documentary of the process.

Ipswich City Council is also developing a virtual reality tour of the crypt for anyone who wants to revisit a piece of Queensland's political and personal history "for current and future generations without disturbing the deceased".



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