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Dunwich Cemetery Stradbroke

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Old Tombs at Dunwich

https://stradbrokeisland.com/tour-item/dunwich-cemetery

The Dunwich Cemetery has graves from the early days of Queensland’s European settlement, dating back to 1847. There are over 8,500 unmarked graves of inmates from the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum

Three cemeteries have operated on North Stradbroke Island. The Myora/Moongalba cemetery just north of Dunwich is the burial place of people from the Mission, the Lazaret or Leper’s Cemetery south of Dunwich was set up in the late 19th century, and the Dunwich Cemetery still operates in the township itself.The first of the Dunwich Cemetery’s estimated 10,000 burials is believed to date from 1847 when a victim of the shipwrecked Sovereign was interred, which makes it one of the earliest surviving cemeteries in Queensland.Also among the early burials were the victims of one of Queensland’s immigration tragedies: a typhus epidemic in 1850 on the ship Emigrant, which claimed about 27 lives. Dunwich had just been proclaimed the quarantine station for Moreton Bay and the Emigrant was the first ship to arrive at the new station.

Tombstone with list of buried


Dunwich Cemetery dates back to 1850 and is stepped in history including being the second oldest European type cemetery in Queensland. The exact number of graves is not known, but records say that there is between 800 to 900 plots with many of the ‘graves unmarked’. There is also an information board at the entrance to the cemetery erected by the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum which reads inter alia, “Final resting place of 8426 Dunwich Benevolent Asylum inmates.” http://www.interment.net/data/aus/qld/redland/dunwich/index.htm

The first burials at Dunwich cemetery are believed to date from 1847 and it is one of the earliest surviving cemeteries in Queensland.[1]

The European settlement of Stradbroke Island began in 1827 when a convict out-station was established at Dunwich to serve the Moreton Bay convict settlement based at Brisbane town. During 1827-28 a warehouse and accommodation for convict labourers, boatmen and soldiers were constructed. However, this settlement at Dunwich was short lived as problems with unloading goods in poor weather, smuggling, and hostile Aborigines, resulted in the closure of the out-station in 1831.[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunwich_Cemetery

The oldest part of Dunwich Cemetery

In 1867 the quarantine station was transferred to Peel Island, and the Queensland government officially established the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum in the former quarantine buildings, although Asylum inmates were housed at Dunwich from as early as 1864. The Asylum accommodated the elderly, disabled or infirm who had no other means of support. At the time, institutionalisation was considered to be the appropriate treatment of those who were unable to fulfil a useful role in society. Accommodation on an island close to Brisbane, yet separated from it, effectively removed Asylum inmates from society and made administrative control easier. The isolation of the island also made it a useful place to treat conditions believed to be infectious and a lazaret was established at nearby Adam’s Beach in 1892, where it remained until moved to Peel Island in 1907. From 1896 the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum housed inebriates. Consumptive patients were also taken until 1935, but were accommodated in isolation “camp”.[1]

In 1946-7 the Dunwich lands were subdivided and the remaining Asylum inmates, mainly aged people, were removed to the Eventide Home at Sandgate, occupying the site of the former RAAF Station Sandgate. All the Dunwich ward buildings were sold, dismantled and either moved to different sites within a newly surveyed Dunwich township, or removed to the mainland for government purposes. In June 1947 the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum was officially closed and the area was redeveloped for residential and other private purposes. In the 80 years spanning 1867-1947, 8,426 former inmates of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum were buried in the Dunwich Cemetery. Those buried are believed to include many who were descended from the traditional owners of Stradbroke Island.[1]

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