HISTORY OF GOODNA GENERAL CEMETERY
The natural bushland setting of the Goodna General Cemetery covers an area of approximately 5 hectares and is bordered by Stuart St in the east, Eric St to the south, John Bell Crt to the north with council-owned undeveloped land to the west. The land was proclaimed for use as a cemetery in 1859 with the first recorded burial merely listed in the Burial Register as "Neilson" (a headstone bearing the name Agnes Neilson aged 3yrs 4mths - see photos below)
Many of the burials in the late 1800's and early 1900's were infants with no christian names recorded just their surname and most were buried by their parents as indicated in the Register in the "Undertaker's Name" column. Burials for infants initially cost 6 shillings and 6 pence (equates to 66cents today) while adult burials cost the princely sum of 10shillings and 6 pence with the first paid funeral recorded on November 4th 1902. The Burial fees increased in 1904 to 8s 6p and 12s 6p respectively until 1940 where a massive price rise took the costs to 2pounds 12shillings and 6pence for an adult burial with infant graves still costing a relatively low 12shillings 6pence.
On March 3rd 1945, the first body exhumed from Brisbane Mental Hospital cemetery arrived for burial in Goodna General Cemetery. Over the next 4 years approximately 200 bodies (names can be found here) would be taken from the Asylum cemetery and reinterred at Goodna. No records were kept in relation to the positioning of these graves on any of the maps held by the Trust (although 2 bodies were exhumed from Goodna Cemetery within weeks of their reburial).
There is conflicting information available about why this occured with some sources siting the building of a road, some say construction of the golf course and others noting that the cemetery was too close to Woogaroo Creek and / or the Brisbane river and bodies were continually being washed away in the floods. There is no definitive information about the rationale for the exhumations or what happened to the remaining bodies of the patients who had died while resident at the Asylum and were subsequently buried in the hospital grounds. (Markers are numbered up to 2300 which could possibly indicate the number of burials)
In the early 1970's, hundreds of crude concrete grave markers transitioned to the Goodna Cemetery grounds and in 2006, after receiving Government funding, a Commemorative Space was built to memorialise the grave markers and the thousands of people whose final resting place is now unknown. If you are interested in ordering a memorial plaque for a loved one, please contact us for further information.
One of the "icons" of Goodna General Cemetery is the "Headless Angel" monument originally erected by Atillio Costa in memory of his wife Theresa in 1922. No further details of Theresa are available as her burial is not recorded in the cemetery's Register. The head, forearm and wings of the statue have been missing for many years due to numerous bouts of vandalism within the cemetery.
"The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living" Marcus Tulliuis Cicaro
The restored headstone of baby Agnes Neilson, the first recorded burial (year unknown)