Brisbane General Cemetery
304 Birdwood Terrace
BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL
Remembering significant phases in the development of settlements, towns and cities
Photo of main gates at Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane. Photo courtesy of Noel Hall. 2006
|The Brisbane General Cemetery at Toowong, established in 1866 and formally opened in 1875, is Queensland’s largest cemetery. It is important in demonstrating the evolution of Queensland history, as it provides evidence, through the division of its portions and the headstones and memorials they contain, of the history and the demography of Brisbane and the diversity of its cultural, religious and ethnic groups and districts. The layout of burial sites at the Cemetery is indicative of 19th century social and religious stratification and the progressive layering, development and diversity of styles of memorialisation contained within the Cemetery document changing attitudes to death and fashions in funerary ornamentation since the 1870s.
The Toowong Cemetery is a rare example of the Victorian concept of a mortuary park and the collection of memorials and gravestones record unique documentary information that is of interest to art, military, local history, architectural and sculptural historians, students of typography and demography, genealogists and relatives of the deceased.
Within its layout and location of structures including the former Sexton’s office and storage shed constructed over the drain, the Toowong Cemetery has the potential to reveal further information about 19th and 20th century burial practices generally and specific cemetery systems.
At the base of Mt Coot-tha, with the Botanical Gardens and Anzac Park opposite, and with the Brisbane Forest Park as its backdrop, the Toowong Cemetery’s picturesque setting maintains the visual allusion of the Victorian concept of a mortuary park on the outskirts of the city. Its elevated location to minimise health risks and its inclusion of all denominations typify the characteristics of late nineteenth century cemeteries. Together with its man-made aesthetic attributes, such as fences, gates, pavilions, memorials and landscaping, an atmosphere conducive to repose and reflection that was an essential part of the ritual of honouring and remembering the dead was created and continues to be valued by the community.
Many of the monuments display a high level of creative endeavour and are important for their excellence of design and craftsmanship, outstanding material splendour and dramatic physical impact. The Temple of Peace, Trooper Cobb’s Grave and the Caskey Memorial have been previously listed individually for their significance on the Queensland and National heritage registers. The memorial to Governor Blackall Memorial is an imposing, tall, slender column of stone and has value as a landmark, dominating the southern section of the cemetery and the approach to Toowong along the western freeway. As a group, all the memorials both modest and grand, are enhanced by their collective location, range of types and infinite variations.
As Brisbane’s foremost public cemetery, the Toowong Cemetery was the focus of public ritual and sentiment and its association with the Brisbane and wider community continues. It is the burial place of individuals from all walks of life. The place has a special association with persons of importance in local, regional and Queensland history. Some noteworthy individuals buried at Toowong include but are not limited to a Prime Minister, two Queensland Governors, 13 Queensland Premiers, 11 Queensland Labor leaders, at least 15 Brisbane Mayors and many other prominent political, religious, sports, arts and business figures.
The place has a strong association with Governor Samuel Wensley Blackall and the prominence of the site selected for his huge monument indicates the prestige allotted to him and remains as a legacy of his influence and popularity. The Cemetery also has a special association with the life and work of its Trustees - those responsible for its the development and maintenance, most of whom are interred within the grounds. As a foundation Trustee, architect James Cowlishaw’s (1834-1929) association spanned 59 years. John Petrie (1822-1892), builder, monumental mason and Brisbane’s first Lord Mayor was also a foundation Trustee and his monumental masonry business located opposite the main entry to the cemetery for 100 years produced a large proportion of the memorials and headstones in the cemetery. Architect Edward Myer Myers (1864-1926) was a Trustee from 1920 until his death and was responsible for the design of the Amenities Building. The monuments and gravestones provide evidence of the practice of monumental masonry and art metalwork in Queensland and of the work of notable architects, sculptors, artists and other craftsmen.
Bureaucratic procrastination, manoeuvring
and public discontent colour the early history of the Brisbane
General Cemetery at Toowong and contributed to the decades of
delay in providing a new General Cemetery for Brisbane in the
second half of the nineteenth century. The first cemetery serving
the small penal settlement that was Brisbane between 1825 and
1842 was located near Skew Street, the northern approach to the
William Jolly Bridge. It was here that soldiers and convicts were
interred but was considered unfit for the burial of children.
One soldier’s four children were buried in a brick crypt in an
area at North Quay near Herschel Street. The concept of a rural
cemetery located outside the bounds of town limits emerged as
a major transformation in burial practices in the late 18th century
in Britain and Europe and was well established by the time towns
and settlements were being formed in Queensland. The new burial
grounds surveyed at North and South Brisbane in 1844, just beyond
the western boundary of the municipality, proved however, not
to be sufficiently removed from the settlement. Whilst the proximity
of both grounds allowed customary procession on foot, and natural
drainage away from the early settlement served to allay sanitary
concerns, as early as 1851, the public were petitioning the Government
of NSW to relocate the North Brisbane Burial Grounds known as
the Milton/Paddington Cemetery. Brisbane’s rapid expansion following
its opening to free settlement in 1842 was such that the Paddington
Cemetery, was now in the heart of a prime inner residential area
and was being challenged by the residents who feared for their
health. The first progress to establish a new cemetery were made
in 1861 when 200 acres was set aside for cemetery purposes, 2
miles south west of the Milton Cemetery at Toowong. The land however,
was chosen by default rather than by design. Augustus Gregory,
the Surveyor -General had not favoured the Toowong site but found
it to be the only locality to present the requisite requirements.
The appropriateness of the site at Toowong for the purpose of
a General Cemetery was an issue contested for the next two decades.
The isolation and suitability of the Toowong site with its lack
of access and public transport fuelled dissent and debate and
the public continued to use the cheaper, more accessible familial
grounds at Milton. Although the Cemetery Act was passed in 1866
providing the means to establish general cemeteries under the
control of government appointed trustees, it was another decade
before the Cemetery was officially opened. In 1868, a further
portion of Crown land, 53 acres in area, north of the cemetery
reserve was added to fulfil of the Trustee’s requirement for the
entire cemetery to be surrounded with public roads. The reserve
of 250 acres 1 rood was gazetted and the Cemetery Trust established
in October 1870 and its honorary trustees were amongst Brisbane’s
most prominent political and business figures – James Cowlishaw,
John Hardgrave, William Pettigrew, Samuel Walker Griffith, George
Edmonstone, Alexander Raff, John Petrie (Chairman), Michael Quinlan
and Nathaniel Lade. Trial sinkings at Toowong in December 1870
found the ground to be unsuitable, but this knowledge did not
prompt the government to secure a more appropriate location. Queensland’s
second governor, Samuel Wensley Blackall had been a supporter
of the Toowong site and in his ill health indicated his desire
to be buried there. He was buried on the highest knoll on 3 January
1871 and his memorial is the largest and most prominent in the
cemetery with commanding views of the city and surrounds. The
Surveyor General, the Trustees and the Colonial Secretary had
not favoured the Toowong Site and even after the burial of Governor
Blackall on its most prominent peak, the Trustees were still pursuing
other more suitable prospects for a cemetery site. Three private
properties had been offered for sale for cemetery purposes. Of
these, Trustee George Edmondstone’s property on Enoggera Creek
was identified as being most suitable, however the Colonial Treasurer
could not reach an agreement on price and the Toowong site came
to be accepted as the Brisbane General Cemetery grounds. In June
1871, Petrie, Pettigrew and Perry were nominated to chose a suitable
40 acres for clearing for the general cemetery. In 1872, ground
lying north of the road and east of the western boundary of the
53 acre portion was cleared and enclosed by 540 rods of good quality
pig fencing (a four rail fence) with two entrances not more than
4 rods on each side of the main entrance erected by John Ballard.
A Keeper’s Lodge was built by E Lewis and gates and ornamental
fencing at the main entrance, designed by the Colonial Architect,
FDG Stanley, were erected in 1873-74.
Between Governor Blackall’s burial and the
official opening of the Cemetery, there were six burials.
The next interment was Ann Hill, buried November
1 November 1871,Toowong Cemetery, was Walter and Jane Hill's daughter
who was born in Scotland in 1850 and came out in 1853 with Walter`s
wife Jane,nee (Smith) and Ann was 21 yrs old when she died and
had resided at the Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.
Ann was the second burial at the cemetery and her father planted
the now huge
Hoop pine tree beside her grave left of the maintenance shed
at Toowong Cemetery main entrance and also this is now the family
grave of Walter Hill b 06-2-1904 and Jane Hill b 1888 and Jane`s
sister ,Mary Hamilton b1921. There is a photograph of Walter Hill,
Jane his wife and Ann Hill,aged 17 yrs, in front of the their
home in the Botanic Gardens ,1867 and also an aboriginal girl
standing beside Ann Hill. Photo at John Oxley Library in Botanic
Gardens Photographic Collection. Walter Hill was superintendent
of the Botanical Gardens on 2 November 1871. (Information courtesy
of Noel Hall, Botanic
Hill,death 04-02-1904,father David Hill,mother Elizabeth Beattie.Qld
Jane Hill,(nee Smith)death 25-06-1888,father John Smith,mother
Jane Brunton.Qld BDM No.1888/B020977
Ann Hill,death 01-11-1871,father Walter Hill,mother Jane Smith.Qld
Mary Hamilton,(nee Hill),death,10-09-1921,father David Hill,mother
Mary Guthrie.Qld BDM No.1921/003134
Mary Hill was daughter of David Hill,Walter Hill`s brother and
their father was David Hill,mother Elizabeth Beattie
I could not find a birth or marriage certificate for Mary Hill,
so it would appear Mary was married in Scotland ,
note from Mr Hall "I as a volunteer have this past week fully
Hill Memorial and painted colour "sandstone" pvc uv paint,and
the wrought iron palisading around the memorial was rusty and
repaired and also the Memorial was in a bad state of disrepair
and I have replaced the facing on 3 sides and some of the embossed
lettering and the frame at top, fronting east surrounding the
white marble showing the British Snow Drop of a single Flower,very
beautiful. The support
flower pot and Winged Urn at the top was in danger of crumbling
to dust and has been pvc sandstone rock stablising treated,and
this crumbling of the sandstone is not surprising as the monument
was erected by Mr Petrie in early 1872 as shown embossed on bottom
plinth. The lettering will be highlighted in black this coming
week along with the pallisading.The Materials for the repair were
supplied by Brisbane City Council, by the Curator Mr Ross McKinnon,of
Brisbane Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, and there will be a 100
yrs Memorial Celebration of the life of this great man Walter
Hill by Brisbane Botanic Gardens Volunteers as it will be 100yrs
ago on 4th February 1904 that Walter Hill passed away at Eight
Mile Plains on his farm south of Brisbane. There is also a hoop
pine tree,"Araucaria cunninghamii" Walter Hill planted in 1871
so as to shade his daughter Ann Hill`s Grave in 1871 and this
is now a beautiful tall tree."
Thomas and Martha McCulloch were buried in
November 1873, Teresa Maria Love on 16 March 1875 and Florence
and Ethel Gordon on 4 July 1875. The Trustees received numerous
requests for separate burial sections from churches and other
like minded group to ensure that religious and social class distinctions
within society were perpetuated in mortality. Between November
1874 and August 1875 portions were allocated by the Trustees upon
request. Portion No 1, was allocated to the Church of England,
Portion No 2 to the Wesleyans, Portion No 3 to the Hebrews, Portion
No 7 to the Roman Catholics, Portion No 16 to paupers and No 17
and parts of No 1 and 7 to public graves, Portion No 15 to criminals.
In 1879, the Chinese were allocated part of Portion 2, then relocated
in January 1884 to the ground below 7 and then again in April
of that year to Portion No 8. The various cultural and religious
groups were separated and boundaries clearly formed by winding
roads. There is a strong showing of the Christian section of the
graves, supporting the demographic dominance of Anglo-Saxons in
Brisbane and the relocation of the Chinese several times (now
in Portion 19) demonstrates the disregard afforded to this section
of the community, which exhumed many of its dead for reinterment
in China. The lack of public transportation for funeral processions
was one of the perceived shortfalls of the Toowong site, so the
extension of the railway line through the western suburbs to Toowong
in 1875 with the promise of a mortuary rail service provided the
catalyst for the opening of the cemetery. The grounds at the Cemetery
were laid out by the prominent surveyor, George Phillips and a
set of books drawn up by the Government Printer. The Cemetery
was officially opened on 5 July 1875. Controversy was quelled
for a time but the respite was short lived and the Cemetery was
subjected to a parliamentary inquiry in 1877 where public health
issues, the steep and rocky terrain, the distance and inconvenience
for mourners and the cost in relation to other alternatives including
mortuary trains to Toowong were considered. No further meetings
were held by the Trustees until March 1878. The Cemetery had come
to be valued for not only its heritage as the resting place of
Governor Blackall but as a place for recreation and repose. Had
the government decided from its inquiry to abandon the Toowong
Cemetery in favour of another proposed site at Woogaroo, the Trustees
wanted to retain the management of the Toowong site and for it
to be maintained in an ornamental way as a place of resort for
the people of Brisbane. Community health concerns relating to
the Cemetery began to dissipate in the second half of the 1880s.
Whilst a public meeting of concerned residents discussed the closure
of the cemetery in July 1885, within six months the local community
was petitioning the Trustees to endorse the opening of a road
through the cemetery reserve. Approval for the public thoroughfare
through the cemetery was given in July 1886. The approval renewed
concern in some quarters for the health risks associated with
the increase in public activity at the Cemetery and the planting
of trees amongst the graves especially of those dying of virulent
diseases was advocated. The cemetery was however, well established
with trees by this time. From 1876, one year after its official
opening, many plants and young trees had been supplied to the
Cemetery from the Botanical Gardens and Acclimatisation Society.
Initially, Walter Hill, the Botanical Gardens superintendent donated
38 shade and ornamental trees to the Cemetery and Mr Bernays of
the Acclimatisation Society offered 50 trees in exchange for a
subscription from the Trustees. From 1878, the Cemetery gardens
were attended by dresser, William Melville, a position he held
for 38 years. Flowers, shrubs and plants were cultivated on the
site on Portion 10 and sold to meet the needs of the site’s visitors
from a flower shed that straddled the creek. Mature camellias
at the Cemetery, located in Portion 4 and 13 may be the first
planted in Queensland from cuttings from Camden Park, the home
of John McCarthur, who may have been the first to import them
into Australia. A dam on Portion 16 was used for irrigation until
1905 when water taps were installed. In 1886, the Defence Force
leased the largely unused area of the cemetery, now occupied by
Anzac Park, as a Rifle Range and the whole paddock and the Cemetery
Overseer’s cottage designed by Trustee, James Cowlishaw and built
by E Bishop in 1877 came under the control of the Brigade Officer
in charge of the Range. In exchange, the Government built another
cottage in 1887 for the overseer at a cost of £250. A pavilion,
also designed by Cowlishaw was built in 1885 at the northern end
of Portion 10. In 1891, extensive public usage of the cemetery
land spurred the newly formed Toowong Shire Council to seek an
arrangement with the Trustees to utilise some of the land for
the purpose of public recreation. Whilst initially reluctant,
the Trustees came to support the idea. In 1915, the Toowong Park
Act was passed providing the Trustees with the means to transfer
132 acres 2 roods 18 perches to the Toowong Town Council for Park
and Recreation purposes known in part as the Old Rifle Range for
the sum of £1,000. This revenue was used to finance the construction
of new gates and fencing and the purchase in 1916, of Portion
872, the sole adjoining private property, to satisfy the Trustees
preference for completely surrounding the cemetery with public
roads. Agitation for public transport within close proximity of
the cemetery was finally achieved with the extension of the tramway
to the cemetery in 1901. A shelter shed was erected by the Brisbane
Tramways Co in 1916. The Paddington Cemeteries Act of 1911, authorised
the Government to resume the several cemeteries at Milton and,
upon the request of any relative of any person buried therein
within 12 months, to disinter the remains of the deceased. The
remains were removed together with any memorials to any cemetery
agreed upon with associated costs borne by the Government. Of
the 4,643 identifiable graves at Milton, there were 178 applications
made. 139 remains and 105 memorials were relocated from Milton
to Toowong throughout the site, with the greatest concentration
to be found in Portion 6. Tenders for a sanitary block were called
by Trustee and architect, Edward Myer Myers in November 1923.
The successful tenderer was Marberete Co and the construction
was completed prior to Anzac Day 1924 when the Shrine of Remembrance
and Cross of Sacrifice were unveiled. A report of the ceremony
in the Sydney Mail incorrectly refers to the building as a mortuary
chapel and flags of the Union Jack were hung over the entries
to the men’s and ladies’ toilets to disguise the signage. On 1
August 1930, Toowong Cemetery and all others with the Brisbane
City Council municipality were placed under the management and
control of the Council. The following year, the area of the Toowong
Cemetery bounded by Mt Coot-tha Road and Miskin and Dean Streets
was used by the Australian Military Forces for training and later
was transferred to the Brisbane City Council and was developed
as a Bus Depot. A substation was erected in the south-east corner
of this site in 1935. Flowers were cultivated and sold at the
Cemetery from Portion 10 until the 1930s. In 1934 the area set
apart for soldier’s graves within Portion 10 was extended and
incorporated the flower gardens and the octagonal pavilion was
probably demolished at this time. Other shelter sheds were erected
and six, including two with toilets, are dotted over the site.
In 1936 the last available block, Portion 30, was laid out for
burial purposes. To allow for more burials, the plot sizes were
reduced from 9’x5’to 8’x4’. By April 1975, all burial plots in
the Cemetery had been sold and the Cemetery was closed with the
exception of burials in family graves. That same year, hundreds
of worn, forgotten headstones in three major city cemeteries were
removed by Brisbane City Council workmen employed under the Regional
Employment Development Scheme. Old, neglected monuments were removed
from Toowong, Lutwyche and South Brisbane cemeteries and trees
and shrubs planted. The long term aim of the scheme was to return
the cemeteries to open space with a parkland atmosphere. It is
thought approximately 1,000 memorials were removed from Toowong.
In the early 1980s, footpath clearances were substantially reduced
along the Frederick Street and Mt Coot-tha Road boundaries and
the tram shelter and tram lines were removed as part of the Route
20 overpass and roundabout development. As a result of this work,
direct access through the main gates of the Cemetery from all
directions but the west has been disconnected. The Sexton’s office,
built around the turn of the century on Portion 10 above the floor
of the flower shed, fell into disuse once the new Sexton’s office
was built in 1989. Restoration work to repair and reconstruct
the former Sexton’s office and its conversion to a museum was
initiated by the Brisbane City Council Heritage Advisory Committee
and the work carried out by the Heritage Unit in 1991. Another
initiative by the Brisbane City Council Heritage Unit, also undertaken
in 1991, was the establishment of the Toowong Cemetery Heritage
Trail together with the Adopt-a-Pioneer program for plots in need
of maintenance and to raise public awareness of the invaluable
resource that the cemetery provides. In 1992, steel boom gates
were erected at the Birdwood Terrace and Frederick Street entrances
of the Cemetery to deter vandalism, theft and drag racing. The
same year, a group of volunteers formed The Friends of Toowong
Cemetery and their activities include tending to neglected gravesites
and organising tours of the Cemetery for interested parties. They
have also produced several booklets including the Toowong Cemetery
Resource Manual and Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary People. The
Cemetery was reopened in 1998 with approximately 450 plots available
|The Brisbane General Cemetery at Toowong is located approximately 4 ½ kilometres west of the City on 43.73 hectares (108acres 1.6perches) bounded on all sides by public roads. The undulating and rugged terrain of the Cemetery falls steeply away from its northern boundary, Birdwood Terrace, which traces the ridge from the north-east corner of the site to Richer Street which forms the western boundary of the Cemetery proper. Mt Coot-tha Road forms the southern boundary and Frederick Street, provides the north-south line of the eastern boundary.
The shoulder to Mt Coot-tha Road, west of Richer Street, comprises an area of 1.116 hectares of Cemetery land that is utilised as supplementary carparking for the Botanical Gardens. The Brisbane City Council Bus Depot, Anzac Park, the Botanical Gardens and the northern end of the western freeway now occupy land that was originally part of the 250 acre 1 rood Cemetery Reserve.
Approach from the City along Milton or Sylvan Road to the Cemetery is impeded by the overpass and roundabout at the intersection of Frederick and Miskin Streets and Sylvan, Milton and Mt Coot-tha Roads Direct access through and views of the main entry have been severed and access through the main gates can only be made from a slip road approach from the west.
The main entrance to the Cemetery at the south-east corner of the site is through a semi circular gateway comprising stone gate posts and a cast iron fence on a brick masonry base with stone coping. constructed c1915. The gate posts are a simplified version of those to the design by Colonial Architect, FDG Stanley erected in 1873-74. The fence extends past Valentine Street on the Frederick Street boundary but is not continuous – a length of fence has been removed. To the west the fence extends more than a hundred metres and includes a narrow gate opening. The remainder of the site is unfenced but the topography to the northern, western and southern boundaries and the line of eucalypt trees along the Frederick Street form a natural boundary to the site.
The large site is elevated and has views to the City and surrounding suburbs. It is divided by a series of bitumen lined, serpentine roads between which portions of land for burial purposes have been overlaid with regularly shaped sections at varying orientations. A creek runs diagonally through the site from the north-west to the south east between two ridges. Through Portion 10, the creek is formed by an open concrete lined drain passing under the road to Portion 6 from where it exits the site under Mt Coot-tha Road.
Throughout the cemetery, the topography provides the social division of the cemetery with private graves occupying the highest ground in each portion, public graves along the lower sections and paupers and criminals occupying the low-lying, water logged ground along the creek. The contrast is stark between elaborate monuments built by the elite on the highest ground in an attempt to cheat death through immortality, when compared to the unmarked graves of anonymous paupers on low lying water logged ground. With two exceptions, the Presbyterians in Portion 24 and the Primitive Methodists mostly in Portion 6, the creek serves to separate the general ground to the south from the ground occupied by religious denominations to the north.
Portion 1 contains the Church of England graves with still born babies occupying the northern area of this Portion. Portion 2 which was originally allocated to the Wesleyan Methodists (2A) also contains the graves of more than 10,000 still born babies and other hospital burials. Portion 3 contains the Jewish Section, Portion 4 appears to be a general area and contains the Temple of Peace and the Caskey Memorial. Portion 5 contains public ground. Portion 6 contains Primitive Methodists and also a substantial number of the reinterments from the old Milton/Paddington Cemetery. Portion 7 contains Irish Catholics and 7A, the Roman Catholics. The small subdivision of 7A to the west of Portion 7 contains the early Roman Catholic graves. Portion 8 once contained Chinese graves (relocated to portion 2 and then 7 before being re-interred to 19). Most of the early Chinese graves were exhumed and removed to China. Portion 8 and 18 contain general ground with Greek and Russian Orthodox at the western ends of both.
Portions 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14 surround the Blackall Monument located on the highest knoll in the Cemetery. The upper reaches of these portions contain Queensland’s most prominent political, legal, arts, religious and business figures. Portions 15 and 15 A contain public Catholic graves. Part of 15 was originally allocated to the burial of criminals and was later resold as Catholic ground. The pauper grounds were located in the low-lying area in Portion 16. The top dressing in this area has been stripped and the area is presently used for the dumping of tree trimmings and other rubbish.
Portion 10 contains the administrative buildings for the site – the Sexton’s office, the Museum (former Sexton’s office) and storage shed spanning the open drain, the Amenities block with a storage and workshop adjacent. The Shrine of Remembrance and Cross of Sacrifice occupy the southern end of this Portion and are prominently centred on an axis from the main entry gates. Portions 20, 21, 22, 23, 29 and 29A in the northern corner of the Cemetery were laid out after the turn of the century. Part of Portions 21and 22 contain hospital and Department of Native Affairs graves. Portion 22 contains Italian graves and also the grave of former Prime Minister Forde.
Portions 25, 26 and 27 laid out in the western corner of the site contain Catholic graves and occupy the land purchased in 1916 from Ned Alexander (Portion 872). Portion 30 was the last ground to be laid out in 1930 and contains, amongst others, graves for Dunwich and Goodna Asylum patients in its south-eastern corner. An avenue of oleanders marks the boundary between portions 29 and 30.
A survey of the layout of graves, reveal differences between many of the portions with some aligned to magnetic north, some to true north and others at varying degrees from North. The sections in the Church of England section are laid out at 45 degrees east of true north. (In August 1875, the Church of England requested that graves be laid east-west).
Framing the entrance to the Cemetery, are an imposing grouping of mature trees including Weeping Banyan (Ficus benjamina), Camphor Laurels (Cinnamomum camphora) and Bangalow Palm trees (Archontophoenix cunninghamia). Bamboo was originally planted to frame the entrance. A line of mature Cypress Pine (Callitris cupressiformis) behind the Cross of Sacrifice and Shrine of Remembrance serve to obscure the view to the Amenities Building. Hedges providing a screen to obscure views of the turn of the century Sexton’s office have been removed. Substantial fig trees mark many of the roadway intersections over the site and an irregular arrangement of Cypress Pines, (Callistris cupressiformis), Bunya Pines, (Araucaria bidwillii) Camphor Laurels (Cinnamonum camphora), Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) as well as Eucalypts and several other plant species over the entire site provide a natural appearance.
There are several small avenues of trees throughout the Cemetery including one of mature Camphor Laurels between portions 6 and 9 and another of an unidentified species along the approach to the Blackall Monument which provides an intimate canopy that belies and enhances the impact of the memorial and its end. A large banyan fig tree and a maple tree form the backdrop to the monument at the top of the hill.
There are approximately 117,000 people buried at Toowong and the variation of headstones and memorials is vast. The imposing Blackall Memorial forms the most dominant feature in the southern part of the cemetery, and long views of memorial are afforded for some distance along western freeway well before the approach to the cemetery is reached. Less prominent, but equally impressive is the craftsmanship attached to many of the individual graves. Sculpture, tiling, edging, cast ironwork, plantings and the like all contribute to the character of the site as a whole.
With the exception of the shelter sheds in various locations within the grounds, the structures associated with the administration and maintenance of the Cemetery grounds are confined to Portion 10. The Museum building, located over the open drain, was formerly the Sexton’s office and was built at the turn of the century. It is a single storey, single skin timber framed building with terracotta tile roof. The two room structure is located above the floor of an earlier structure identified as the flower shed which was associated with the cultivation and selling of flowers from Portion 10. The internal partition wall was reconstructed, windows replaced and an adjoining store room was demolished as part of the museum conversion project carried out by the Brisbane City Council Heritage Unit in 1991. Adjacent to the former Sexton’s office, also straddling the open drain is a storage shed of substantial construction. It has a concrete floor, insitu concrete walls with large, roughly sawn hardwood roof framing and lining.
The 1924 Sanitary Block or Amenities Building is a substantially intact, single storey masonry building with terracotta tile roof. The building has a symmetrical layout and is accessible from the east or west. The four corners of the building contain rest areas with battened openings and bench seating and provide access to the lavatories and retiring rooms, the men’s on the south of the building and the women’s on the north. Entry to the central dining room is via an ancillary space on the east containing showers (a later addition or modification?) and on the west containing a kitchen. The masonry internal walls are glazed face bricks in the ancillary spaces with painted brickwork the main central space. Tiles line the masonry walls to the lavatories, retiring rooms and associated corridors.
Other buildings on Portion 10 include the new Sexton’s office, a single storey cavity brick building with terracotta tile roof erected in 1989 and a single storey masonry storage and work shed with metal roof of recent construction. This shed is located adjacent to the southern end of the amenities building.
Information about places in the Queensland Heritage Register is maintained
by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Queensland Heritage
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entry and should not be taken as an official entry. Absence does not
mean a particular place is not in the Register.
Date: 22nd May 2002
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