Save Tom Roberts' grave

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Tom Roberts is one of Australia's greatest artists, who painted Shearing the Rams, The Breakaway, Bailed Up and other iconic works that have helped define us as a nation. He is buried next to his wife at Christ Church, Illawarra, near Longford, Tasmania, courtesy of the Dumaresq family which owned the land. The family has cared for the grave and encouraged visitors to pay their respects ever since. An important early visitor was Arthur Boyd, who painted the altarpiece in the church as a tribute.

The church and grave now belong to the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania, which is planning to sell this and numerous other historic churches. The property, including Tom Roberts' grave, will fall into private hands. The site may be resumed or built over. This would be a tragic loss for the nation. Our great men and women are national treasures and should be honoured as such.

I care about Tom Roberts because I'm an art historian who grew up in Tasmania and has done a lot of research into Tasmanian churches. I care that a great artist like Roberts, and a historic church like Illawarra, an important part of our heritage, don't receive the respect they deserve.

No contributions are necessary thank you, but please sign the petition to ask the Premier of Tasmania, Will Hodgman, who is also the Minister for Heritage, and Senator Mitch Fifield, the Federal Minister for Heritage, to intervene to keep the grave of this iconic Australian in public hands, permanently accessible to the public.

Photo: David McHarg