BACK TOGETHER: Brett Davidson was surprised when police told him they were in possession of his father’s ashes, which had been laid to rest in a shrine near his property along Sandy Creek.
BACK TOGETHER: Brett Davidson was surprised when police told him they were in possession of his father’s ashes, which had been laid to rest in a shrine near his property along Sandy Creek. Renee Pilcher

Human ashes found at farm

HUMAN remains were not exactly what John Vidler expected to find inside a plastic container when he came across it in a paddock.

The caretaker of a farm along Sandy Creek Rd was clearing away flood debris from a fence line in March when he discovered a curious looking urn which appeared to contain ashes. A worn inscription led him to believe the ashes were human, so Mr Vidler took the container to the police, hoping they would find its original resting place.

A special investigation to find out the name of the deceased began and bit by bit Senior Constable Brett Stoward unravelled the mystery. He took the urn to Gympie Funerals, which confirmed that it was one of theirs. Part of the name was still visible on the urn and the funeral home helped track down the family.

Imagine the surprise when Noel Davidson Jnr - known to his friends as Brett - became aware that his dad's ashes were at the police station. He had not even noticed the "old man" had gone missing.

The late Noel Davidson was quite the adventurous type, but who would have thought he would still be up to his old antics long after his death.

Mr Davidson's remains left their resting place on his son's property and travelled downstream during the floods in March when Gympie's eastern areas were worst hit.

Sandy Creek Rd residents witnessed the highest water levels they'd ever seen in Sandy Ck and when the creek broke its banks, it broke into a shrine where the ashes of Brett Davidson's deceased family members are entombed.

The airtight plastic urn containing the ashes of Noel Davidson Snr was flushed out of the tomb and carried downstream for about 1km to where it was found by John Vidler.

"I thought it was a milk bottle at first," he said. "But there was no lid so I had another look at it then took it to police."

Mr Davidson Jnr said the ash remains of his mother, father, younger brother and grandmother were kept in the memorial shrine near the creek at the back of his property.

"They were built into the shrine with slate. The creek came up, washed it out and took my dad," he said with a grin. "I couldn't believe how far he floated or that he had even gone. He did a fair bit of tracking down the creek."

To find out his neighbour's caretaker was responsible for returning his father's ashes came as good news to Mr Davidson yesterday. He said the way Mr Vidler handled his father's remains with respect and the "dignified ceremonial handover" by police had filled him with gratitude.

Mr Vidler was delighted to hear the ashes had been returned.

"I was a bit surprised to find it. It's not a thing you pick up everyday - thank God."

Mr Davidson plans to cement the urns inside the shrine this time.

Gympie Times


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