The final resting place of generations of Orange citizens has been labelled as "absolutely disgusting" due to the amount of damage and neglect that has occurred over many decades.
Orange City councillor Kevin Duffy has called on council to urgently seek advice on how to clean up and repair the condition of many graves at the Orange General Cemetery.
"Get professional advice from someone who deals with cemeteries," he said.
Cr Duffy said work at Sydney's Rookwood cemetery had been done to preserve its heritage.
"[Maybe] someone from Rookwood could bring those skill levels to Orange. It's happened at other cemeteries, I think Bathurst have done it," he said.
Cr Duffy said some graves had been vandalised while others had suffered from years of neglect.
"There's a bit of both. there's a significant amount of wear and tear," he said.
"It's absolutely disgusting when you go there. You see rabbits and snakes and lizards going through the graves. They have just been let go.
"It's a bit of neglect on behalf of the council and a bit of neglect by the families. Some of them don't live in Orange anymore.
"[I understand] the ground belongs to the council but the headstones belong to the families," he said.
Cr Duffy said the cemetery had great historical and heritage value and should be preserved.
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He said the front fence, while historic, was also not secure enough to stop vandals getting in.
Cr Duffy said many notable Orange figures were buried in the cemetery.
"You go there and you see their headstones either cracked, or fallen over or destroyed," he said.
"It's an attraction for people. I've always been saying we should apply for grants," he said.
"It's not an easy fix. It would need five or 10 years work."
Cr Duffy said there were also water and tree issues to consider as nature was causing damage to the site.
He said he had discussed the issue with council staff and expected a report would be presented to an upcoming council meeting.
The Orange and District Historical Society ran a history tour of the site last year.
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