Chinchilla District Cemeteries

Chinchilla Pioneer Cemetery

The Chinchilla Pioneer Cemetery on the Warrego Highway opposite the Tourist Information Centre is recognised as the first cemetery for Chinchilla. The burials at the Chinchilla Pioneer Cemetery date back to at least 1892, with many occurring during the early 1900s. It is possible however that earlier burials exist but have not been recorded, given that the town was established fifteen years earlier when the railway line reached Chinchilla. The cemetery was managed by trustees until the Chinchilla Shire Council took over responsibility in 1921.

A small rectangular section on the southeast corner, delineated from the cemetery by trees, contains a memorial to Ludwig Leichhardt and Charley Fisher, his Aboriginal tracker and guide. Located at the entrance is a timber sign reading ‘PIONEER CEMETERY’. Two interpretive panels provide information about symbolism represented in the grave ornaments in the Chinchilla Pioneer Cemetery and there is also a layout map.

The cemetery is divided into denominational sections and the graves are arranged in rows. Most sites are surrounded by a concrete border and covered with a concrete plate. Other grave surrounds include wrought iron and timber fencing. Headstones include mounted tablets, stelae, a variety of crosses and some more elaborate monuments. It can be reasonably assumed that the cemetery contains a number of unmarked graves.

The Chinchilla Pioneer Cemetery is no longer open for interments.

Chinchilla Monumental Cemetery

In the years 1939/40, the Chinchilla Shire Council purchased a block of land two kilometres northeast of the town for a new cemetery and it was surveyed into blocks, segregating the different religions. The Chinchilla Monumental Cemetery was officially opened in March 1941.

At the entrance to the Catholic section of the cemetery, green double steel gates were erected, in memory of Nurse Hannah Fitzgerald, the first burial in the Catholic Section. A plaque is attached to the gates framework stating “These gates erected in memory of Nurse Hannah Fitzgerald. 1861-1943”. A small section adjacent to the gate and extending along the boundary is delineated by a metal post and chain fence, a metal plaque placed by the Chinchilla Shire Council informs that this section is believed to be the burial ground of the early settlers of the Mizpah district and states their names.

The graves in the cemetery are arranged in rows and the overwhelming majority is surrounded by concrete borders, some with ornamental corner elements and covered with a concrete plate, some decorated with tiles, granite slabs or gravel. Headstones include mounted tablets, stelae and crosses, including some timber crosses.

A columbarium wall was built on the right hand side of the main gates to this cemetery and provides niches for 80 containers of ashes. At a later date another wall was constructed on the opposite side of the gates.

The Chinchilla Monumental Cemetery is open for interments.

Tanderra Lawn Cemetery

The Lions Club of Chinchilla adopted this massive project in June 1973 with the Chinchilla Shire Council supporting the club by purchasing the ground and providing water to the cemetery. On Saturday 28 June 1976, the Minister for Primary Industries and the Member for Condamine, Hon VB Sullivan MLA, performed the official opening of the Tanderra Lawn Cemetery, with the blessing of the cemetery being undertaken by Father K Costigan.

The first burial in this cemetery was held on 23 January 1977. After burials commenced in the Tanderra Lawn Cemetery, burials continued in both the monumental and the lawn cemeteries, but with the majority of burials being in the lawn cemetery. The Tanderra Lawn Cemetery incorporates two columbarium walls.

In 2016, the Garden of Angels was opened, which provides a dedicated children’s section and a memorial area for babies pre-term to 12 months.

The Tanderra Lawn Cemetery is open for interments.