Paul Budde's History Archives


Next to the hospital  were the cemeteries  and soldiers gardens. situated on the (present day) northern approach to the William Jolly Bridge, bounded by Skew Street, Saul Street, Eagle Terrace and Upper Roma Street.

With the many death in the settlement the Reverend John Vincent reported in 1829 that the cemetery was too small and that the ground  was very hard  to dig in. It could take two men 6 to 7 hours to dig a grave.

One section of the cemetery was for the military one section for the convicts and a separate one for the children. Mortally rates were high – 50% among children – because of the many tropic diseases and a lack of hygiene as the water supply was often polluted.  Once settlers started to arrive the paddock next these cemeteries were added to bury their dead, the site eventually extended all the way to Skew Street. Between 1825 and 1843 265 people died in Brisbane and most were buried in the cemetery, the majority – 220 – being convicts.

 With a growing township the cemeteries became overcrowded and with residential and business areas building up around it, that situation became untenable. It was in use until 1843 when the North Brisbane Burial Ground opened in Paddington (now Suncorp Stadium).

The old burial ground remained Crown land. However, there were ongoing complains about the poor state of the cemetery, many of the headstones had collapsed and the stones were disappearing. It finally was redeveloped in 1875 and a small park is the last reminder of the site.

This was in use from 1843 to 1875, during which time up to 10,000 people may have been buried there. During that period the cemetery flooded at several occasions. After 1875, the burial ground was closed and new burials were to take place in the newly established Toowong Cemetery.

For a long time the burial site of three children from the military remained a visible remnant of the old cemetery, where Turbot street ends at North Quay. In 1881 at least three burials were exhumed from the cemetery and removed with their monuments to the Toowong Cemetery. These were all the remains of children who had died at the convict settlement. They were William Roberts, 5 years 2 months old son of Charles Roberts of the Commissariat Department who died in 1831, Peter Macauley, 15 years and 8 months old son of Private Peter Macauley of the 17th Regiment of Foot who died in 1832, and Jane Pittard the 12 month old daughter of Colour Sergeant John Pittard of the 57th Regiment of Foot who died in 1833.

Brisbane’s First Cemetery

The white grave stones at the cemetery. Left of the middle. QUT Digital Archive.


Graves of the military children - Toowong

Graves of the military children – Toowong


Sawpits, brick kilns and the tank

The building of Brisbane TOC

Convict History of Brisbane TOC