OVER 200 new tombstones have been installed at the Ararat Cemetery in honour of the town's Chinese pioneers.
Volunteer organisation Friends of Gum San, which is associated with Ararat's Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre, has spent the last 18 months fundraising for and designing the project.
The tombstones mark the graves of Chinese pioneers whose final resting places were previously only marked with small plot numbers.
The plaques didn't publicly identify who was buried there.
Now the graves are marked with tombstones that display the anglicized name of the person.
Some of the tombstones have multiple names on them as more than one person was buried in them.
Friends of Gum San president Henry Gunstone said the committee raised the funds to pay for the tombstones itself via cleaning, catering and other jobs.
"Our committee is proud of our Chinese heritage so we decided to do something about it, so we raised the $35,000 to do this," he said.
Some of the Chinese burials date back to the 1860s.
"There are still more (graves) to be found but we will find them."
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Mr Gunstone said projects like this were important in keeping the town's rich pioneering history relevant.
"I don't think they (Ararat residents) would (be aware) - like not many are aware that we have another cemetery up at Prestige (the old factory on Lowe Street). There's over 500 buried in that one, mainly Europeans but about 36 Chinese there as well.
"It's just protecting our heritage. Ararat was founded by the Chinese in 1857 and we just like to keep that to the fore," he said.
The tombstones are located at the southeastern corner of the cemetery, off the Pyrenees Highway, left of the entrance gates.
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