Fraser Coast residents are encouraged to help commemorate the sesquicentennial (150 years) of the Maryborough Monumental Cemetery next month (Wednesday 21 June 2023).
Mayor George Seymour said there had been almost 20,000 burials at the cemetery since it was established in 1873.
“The cemetery has a fascinating history with residents attending the commemoration to be taken on free tours where they can learn about historically significant people buried there,” he said.
“The unique chapel at the cemetery was designed by Willoughby Powell and is very architecturally distinctive.
“The commemoration promises to be an interesting day with a range of free tours and activities, so I encourage residents to come along.”
Cr Seymour said Council obtained the land on Walker Street for the cemetery in 1871 and it opened in 1873 after the cemetery on Kent Street filled faster than expected due to the rapid movement of people into Maryborough.
When the Kent Street cemetery closed, it was converted into a garden which is now referred to as the Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens – named in honour of the visit to Australia by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954,” he said.
The cemetery on Walker Street was divided into religious portions as was common practice, using various religious denominations, including Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterians, Wesleyans and the Lutherans.
There are also a number of South Sea Islanders (Kanakas) who were brought to Australia to work in the sugar industry buried in the cemetery.
“One of Australia’s very important poets, John Knight, who was a monumental mason from Maryborough, is interred in the cemetery as is Eliza Barker who was a nurse in the Crimea with Florence Nightingale,” Cr Seymour said.
“Knight’s works, including One People, One Destiny and Cruise of the Scout, are held in the National Library of Australia where they are referred to as important works.
“Eliza Barker who was born in Wales in 1806, went to the Crimea War and was a nurse with Florence Nightingale.
“In 1871, aged 65, she was appointed the first lady Superintendent of the Rockhampton Orphanage – a position she held for 15 years until she was 80. She then retired to Maryborough to live with friends and passed in 1888 aged 82.”
About the 150th anniversary commemoration
The Maryborough Monumental Cemetery 150 years commemoration will start on Wednesday 21 June with a service from 9am followed by tours of the cemetery outlining several historically significant people buried in the cemetery.
During the morning, there will be a dedication for Charles Henry Crystall, who was part of the contracting firm Crystall and Armstrong, which built many of Maryborough’s city buildings including the Maryborough City Hall.
To finish the day, the Friends of the Cemetery and Maryborough District Family History Society will conduct a relaxed Q&A session about the history of the area. All activities will be concluded by 2pm.
Those attending are encouraged to wear closed, comfortable shoes if taking part in tours, which will be conducted on flat grass and are suitable for electronic mobility devices.
All parking will be signed on the day with entry off Walker Street. This will include buses.
If you are bringing a group via bus, please contact the Cemeteries Team at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can arrange for optimal drop-off, parking, and pick-up for your group.
Article & Image submitted by Fraser Coast Regional Council