Paddington Cemetery operated from 1844 to 1875 and was Brisbane Town's main cemetery. Like most Victorian cemeteries the grounds were divided into sections based on religious denominations:
- Episcopalian (Anglican)
- Wesleyan (Methodist)
- Roman Catholic
There were also sections for heathens and paupers.
By 1910 the cemetery fell into disrepair and it was proposed the grounds be turned into a recreation reserve.
In 1911 Queensland Parliament passed The Paddington Cemetery Act. This authorised the government to resume the cemetery and to relocate the remains to another cemetery within 12 months.
The remains of 186 people were removed and reburied, mainly in Toowong Cemetery, and 136 memorials were removed and relocated.
A further 505 memorials and headstones were transferred to a small reserve established next to Christ Church, Milton in 1913 to 1914.
A register of the reburials was created and the list published in the Government Gazette in 1914. A report on the closure of the cemetery and the reburial works undertaken were also included. However, as there were no formal burial registers kept during the cemetery's operation, it is impossible to trace all the 4643 gravesites that were identified when the cemetery closed.
By 1914 the creation of the parkland was underway. The parkland was named Lang Park in honour of John Dunmore Lang's contribution to the Brisbane area.
In the 1930s relief works were undertaken in Lang Park to improve the drainage and sporting facilities. During this period most of the 505 memorials and headstone were removed and a new memorial garden of 21 headstones was established at the rear of Christ Church .Unfortunately the register was not updated to record the removal of these memorials. It is believed that the memorials were broken up and buried at Toowong Cemetery.
During the redevelopment of Suncorp Stadium in 2001/02 part of the former cemetery was excavated by archaeologists from the University of Queensland and they excavated 394 graves. Most were fragmentary or had no remains at all other than a change in colour of the soil. Only one was a reasonably complete skeleton. None were identifiable. All were taken to Toowong Cemetery and interred in two vaults under a specially commissioned monument in July 2003. The monument is located at Portion 17 Section 1.
Find out more information by downloading documents from the Brisbane City Archives about the Paddington Cemetery relocation.
The PDF documents contain scanned items that may be inaccessible to website assistive technologies. For assistance with document accessibility, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.
- Report Regarding the Operations Undertaken at the Paddington Cemeteries (PDF - 2.15Mb)
- General analysis of work done in removal of remains and memorials (PDF - 130kb)
- Table showing the number of remains of deceased persons removed to various cemeteries (PDF - 125kb)
- Table showing the number of memorials removed to various cemeteries (PDF - 125kb)
- List of remains and memorials removed to the Brisbane General Cemetery (Toowong) (PDF - 295kb)
- List of remains and memorials removed to the South Brisbane Cemetery (PDF - 88kb)
- List of remains and memorials removed to other cemeteries (PDF - 131kb)
- List of memorials now standing on the reserved area at Paddington - pre 1930s (PDF - 184kb)*
- Plans showing the old Paddington Cemeteries and the present reserves (PDF - 96kb)
*It is believed that this list of memorials were broken up and buried at Toowong Cemetery in the 1930s.
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