Toowong Cemetery

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Toowong Cemetery
Toowong Cemetery gates 1.jpg
Established 1866
Location Toowong, Brisbane
Country Australia
Coordinates 27°28′27″S 152°58′58″E
Type Monumental
Owned by Brisbane City Council
Size Forty-four hectares
No. of graves Over 120,000

The Brisbane General Cemetery also known as Toowong Cemetery is a heritage-listed cemetery located at Toowong, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was established in 1866 and formally opened in 1875.[1] It is Queensland's largest cemetery and is located on forty-four hectares of land at the corner of Frederick Street and Mount Coot-tha Road approximately four and a half kilometres west of Brisbane.


Brisbane's first cemetery was located close to the Brisbane city near the northern end of the William Jolly Bridge. It was bounded by Skew Street, Saul Street, Eagle Terrace and Upper Roma Street. As Brisbane expanded due to its opening to free settlement in 1842, growth was such that the cemetery was eventually surrounded by residential properties. The cemetery was moved to twenty five hectares of land between Milton Road, Hale Street, Sweetman Street and Dowse Street and was situated on the current site of Suncorp Stadium; it was known as Paddington cemetery or North Brisbane cemetery.[2]

Monument at the grave of Peter Jackson, former World Boxing Champion. The epitaph reads: "This was a man".

In 1861 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land was set aside for a new cemetery at Toowong.[3] In 1870 a Cemetery Trust was established with trustees James Cowlishaw, John Hardgrave, William Pettigrew, Samuel Griffith, George Edmonstone, Alexander Raff, John Petrie (Chairman), Michael Quinlan and Nathaniel Lade the trustees to search for alternative sites as the Toowong site was considered by some as inappropriate.[4] Colonel Samuel Blackall, Queensland's second Governor, had been a supporter of the Toowong site and in his ill health indicated his desire to be buried there — this was done when he was buried on the highest knoll on 3 January 1871.[3] Even though Blackall had been buried, the search for an alternate site continued. The search was unsuccessful however and the Toowong site was eventually was accepted as the final location. Six more burials were performed before the official opening of the Cemetery in 1875.

In April 1975 the Cemetery was full with all plots having been sold. The Cemetery was closed to new burials except for family graves. The Brisbane City Council started a project to remove hundreds of worn, forgotten headstones in the three major city cemeteries. Old, neglected monuments (most of them really only had easily removed weeds) were removed from Toowong, Lutwyche and South Brisbane, Balmoral, God's Acre 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. Letters were sent to very old addresses and the graves were then demolished no matter how good the condition including soldiers graves. It is thought approximately 2500 memorials were demolished and buried in the canal at Toowong Cemetery.<FOTC>

The Cemetery was reopened for further burials in 1998 with approximately 450 plots available for sale.

Today, the Cemetery is a popular place for joggers and dog walkers, with its over-hanging fig trees and winding pathways. It has also earned a reputation for being haunted. Brisbane Ghost Tours conduct regular guided tours through the grounds of the cemetery on Friday and Saturday nights.

Heritage listings[edit]

In addition to being heritage-listed itself, the cemetery contains a number of heritage-listed monuments:

The cemetery itself was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 31 December 2002.[8]

Notable people interred[edit]

Charles Heaphy's headstone in Portion 1 of Toowong Cemetery.
Tomb of the Mayne Family[9] which is to this day maintained by the University of Queensland.
Headstone of Walter Thomas Porriott, a possible Jack the Ripper suspect.

A list of people buried in Toowong Cemetery can be found in the Category:Burials at Toowong Cemetery and in the list below:

In August 2008 it was speculated that Jack the Ripper might be buried in Toowong Cemetery. One of the many Ripper suspects Walter Thomas Porriott was in the Whitechapel area of London at the time of the murders and later migrated to Australia.[14][15] The headstone over his grave is only engraved with "Bessie - Died 25th June 1957 - And her Husband".[16][17]

War Graves[edit]

The cemetery contains the war graves of 270 Commonwealth service personnel of World War I and 117 from World War II, besides 2 sailors of the Dutch Navy from the latter war. Most of the graves are in the Returned Services Plot in Portion 10.[18]



  1. ^ Official Brisbane - Toowong Cemetery - website
  2. ^ "History of Christ Church, Milton". Christ Church, Milton. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Gregory, Helen (2007). Brisbane Then and Now. Wingfield, South Australia: Salamander Books. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-74173-011-1. 
  4. ^ Heritage Register
  5. ^ "Caskey Monument (entry 600335)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "Temple of Peace (entry 600334)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Trooper Cobb's Grave (entry 600333)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Toowong Cemetery (entry 601773)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  9. ^ Mayne, Mary (1826? - 1889)Australian Dictionary of Biography
  10. ^ Mathewson Thomas — Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  11. ^ Grandson tells Thomas Mathewson story — Helensburgh Heritage Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Murray, John". Grave Location Search. Brisbane City Council. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Webster, Edward Sidney — Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search
  14. ^ 120 years of notoriety: Was Jack the Ripper a Londoner with 20 wives who fled to Australia?Daily Mail
  15. ^ Brutal serial killer Jack the Ripper might lie buried in
  16. ^ Porriott Walter Thomas — Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search
  17. ^ Is Jack the Ripper buried in Brisbane?The Age
  18. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°28′27″S 152°58′58″E / 27.47417°S 152.98278°E / -27.47417; 152.98278