Lois Schliessf after an emotional but happy ceremony at her long-lost mother's grave in East Lismore with her extended family.
Lois Schliessf after an emotional but happy ceremony at her long-lost mother's grave in East Lismore with her extended family. The Northern Star

Grave located after 76-year search

AT THE age of 78, Lois Schliessf feels her health will improve now that she has found her mother's grave at East Lismore cemetery.

For Mrs Schliessf, of Brisbane, it's been a 76-year journey to find where her mother lay after she died in Kyogle Hospital of a haemorrhage in the final trimester of pregnancy back in 1932, when Lois was only two years old.

Because they were so young, Lois and her siblings did not go to their mother's funeral.

After her death the family was split in three with young Lois going to an aunt in Kyogle, a sister Joyce going to her grandmother's in Lismore, and brother Warren going with his father to Queensland.

"It's such a load off my mind to be able to acknowledge and celebrate my mother Edith's life. I've been having thyroid problems and I feel my health will come good now that I've found and paid tribute to my mother," Mrs Schliessf said.

On Saturday Mrs Schliessf and a gathering of family members came together at East Lismore Cemetery to mark Edith Lillian Maslen's life.

"I spoke to mum this morning, I was looking at her wedding photo, and I told her she'd be getting more bunches of flowers than she could possibly imagine. It's about time," Mrs Schliessf said.

Mrs Schliessf's son, John, made a short speech and family members unveiled a plaque organised by Lismore City Council for the previously unmarked site. With tear-stained faces they lay floral tributes on the tidy grave.

Although Mrs Schliessf always believed her mother had been buried in Lismore, she had no idea where.

Family folklore had it that the grave was near a fence.

As a young girl, she used to get on her bicycle and pedal around the cemetery hoping to find the headstone, but without success.

It was only last year when her health started to deteriorate that her daughter-in-law, Mel began the search for Edith Maslen's grave in earnest.

Research uncovered that a cross originally marked the grave but had been destroyed in a bush fire.

It was listed as an unmarked site in the Historical Society records, as no one had come forward to claim Edith Maslen's grave.

"Mel was simply wonderful. She did a great deal of research into the matter, she's very good at that sort of thing, and with the help of Lismore Historical Society we were able to at last find the exact place where my mother had been buried," she said.

"It's so important to acknowledge the role my mother played. None of us would be here without her and we're all part of her.

"Today's such a memorable occasion with five generations of family from Sydney, Lismore and Brisbane all here together.

"It's given me closure and I feel a huge load has been lifted from my shoulders," a smiling Mrs Schiessf said.


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