Toowong Cemetery marks 140 years

Queensland’s second governor, Colonel Samuel Wensley Blackall, was the first soul laid to rest in the Toowong Cemetery, formerly known as the Brisbane General Cemetery in January 1871.

Governor Blackall. John Oxley Library Image 36888. His Excellency, Governor Blackall with Mrs Verney and Mrs Terry in 1869. John Oxley Library Image 165859. Colonel Blackall. John Oxley Library Image 3813. Colonel Blackall, Governor of Queensland, with his family. John Oxley Library Image 165864. Sir Samuel Blackall is seated between his aides, Brisbane, 1870. John Oxley Library Image API-001-0001-0013. Colonel Samuel Wensley Blackall. John Oxley Library Image 194354.

To mark the cemetery’s 140th aniversary a re-enactment of Governor Blackall’s burial was held on 24 July. The present Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley AC, was present at the event and quoted the following from the Brisbane Courier of 23 January 1871 in her speech:

“There has been no Governor of this colony before or after seperation, who has been so much loved and so much respected as the one who used to sign himself plain “Sam Blackall”…when the history of Queensland is hereafter written, our children and their children will be taught to revere the name Samuel Wensley Blackall, who died too early in his career of usefulness.”

Re-enactment of the burial of Governor Blackall, 24 July 2011. Photo by Egil Gausel. Re-enactment of the burial of Governor Blackall, 24 July 2011. Photo by Egil Gausel.

Friends of Toowong Cemetery President Hilda Maclean said her volunteer run association relied on such newspaper accounts of the burial to recreate the event as there are no original photographs to refer to.

Whilst the John Oxley Library does have photographs of Toowong Cemetery in its collection we would love to have more as this is the largest cemetery in Queensland forming an important record of the history of Brisbane and the people who have lived here.

Contact us on 38407880 if you know of any interesting images of Toowong Cemetery.

Simon Farley

Manager, Client Services – John Oxley Library