Mother fights to keep son’s memorial

Cathy McAlpine where a memorial has been placed on Gottwald Road, Williamstown for her son, John who died in January.

The future of a roadside memorial placed in memory of Kersbrook’s John McAlpine is with Barossa elected members when they meet next week.

Cathy McAlpine has launched a petition to keep her son’s memorial on Gottwald Road, Williamstown which was placed there by John’s friends to honour the 33 year old who lost his life in a motorbike crash in January this year.

However, complaints have been lodged with The Barossa Council regarding the memorial and has forced the agenda item for next week’s meeting.

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“I feel like I am losing my son all over again,” said Cathy.

“It’s wooden, it’s natural and blends into the trees and I think it’s quite tasteful. It’s not on a main road, it’s on a side road.”

Cathy said weeks after the memorial was placed she received a notice from Council.

Already the memorial cross has been relocated and Cathy said she has tried to do what the Council have requested.

“It wouldn’t matter if the cross was little or big people are still going to see it,” said Cathy.

“It might save someone’s life and if it can save one person’s life one mother, one father, son or daughter then he didn’t die in vain.”

The roadside memorial is a place for Cathy, John’s two daughters, Skye and April; friends and family to remember John.

“I feel the peace out here,” said Cathy, adding she is fighting for it to stay, not just for herself but her granddaughters.

“The amount of love and support I have got over this is so overwhelming.”

Cathy said visiting the site where John died helps his daughters too and said going to the cemetery is too soon for them.

“And it’s the same with my other grandchildren too… it is so peaceful here,” said Cathy.

Cathy speaks highly of her son, a cabinet maker who loved his job and his mates.

“As a mum, I look at this memorial and feel that he was so loved… his mates have done this and it overwhelms my heart,” said Cathy.

“I am the one who had to identify his body and put him in the ground and he’s gone forever and they are taking one special memory away.

“I can see the love in this cross and I have just got to fight for my son one last time.”

The Barossa Council adopted a memorials on community land policy last year as prior to that there was no formal policy in relation to this.

According to Council, they have attempted to mediate an outcome that is satisfactory to all parties “in a considerate and compassionate manner”while trying to bring the memorial within the framework of Council’s policy. 

Barossa Mayor Michael “Bim” Lange said at this time an agreed outcome has not yet been reached and the matter will be further discussed at the May ordinary Council meeting.

“Council understands that when accidents of this nature occur it is a most difficult time for everyone impacted and we extend our condolences to Mr McAlpine’s family and friends whilst also being considerate of the views of some residents along the road in question,” said Mr Lange.