Mackay Cemetery



Location: bordered by Hume Street, Cemetery Road and Shakespeare Streets, West Mackay.

Local Government Authority: Mackay Regional Council


The Mackay Cemetery, known to be in operation as early as 1868 was not Mackay's original burial ground, however the exact location of the city's burial ground is not precisely known.

One area that appears on early surveys of the city is in the vicinity of Byron Street North, however being in a flood prone area much of the cemetery reserve would have been inundated in the 1864 flood and eventually fallen victim to the Pioneer River.  The decision was made to move the cemetery to higher ground along what was then known as the "Nebo Track".

Soon after the inception of the Mackay Municipal Council on 1st December 1869, preliminary steps were mooted to fence and to organise a system of management for the local cemetery.

The Mackay Cemetery Trust, a body independent of Council was established within a year.  The trustee's appointed were: -

  • Thomas Henry Fitzgerald, planter, Alexandra Plantation
  • John Spiller, planter, Pioneer Plantation
  • David Hay Dalrymple, chemist, Mayor of Mackay
  • George Smith, Agent, Mackay
  • William McBryde, Storekeeper, Mackay / Secretary

The Mackay Cemetery Trust operated until 1934 when legislation was introduced that gave control of the cemeteries to local authorities.

As part of the early development of the cemetery, Rev. E. Tanner (Church of England) and Rev. Fr. P.M. Bucas (Catholic) were invited to offer suggestions on the management and setting out of the cemetery.  The cemetery was divided into religious denominations and other area for public graves also designated in cemetery records as Police, Hospital or Pauper's graves.

Early fees adopted were one pound, five shillings for an adult public burial and seventeen shillings and sixpence for a child infant.  An extra seven shillings and sixpence was charged for a Sunday burial .  In 1880 the price for an adult private burial was three pound seven and sixpence while the cost of an 8 x 4 foot plot was one pound two shillings and sixpence.

On 1st July 1873, Mr. W. Clements was appointed Sexton and Secretary for a period of twelve months; however he was employed as Sexton for a much longer period.  Clements was also the Council's Pound-keeper and his commencing salary as Sexton was thirty pounds per annum plus ten shillings for each grave dug.

Until such time as the city's population increased the quarterly grave digging allowances paid to Clements were meager.  Later Sextons included a Mr. Sinclair, from 1880 and Messrs. Cornford, a father and son team that presided over the cemetery for a long time.

Permission to erect the first headstone was granted to Mr. William H. Landells in April 1874 following the death of a daughter in 1869 and a son in November 1873.  In 1874 Mr. Benjamin J. Kemp was permitted to place a headstone and fence around the grave of his daughter.

The first Register of Burials at Mackay Cemetery dates from the burial of Mrs Grace Jack on 1st August 1873.  The cemetery was closed for burials from the early 1960's except those with family plots.

Mackay City Council acknowledges the contribution of Berenice Wright in compiling this historical account of Mackay Cemetery

(Information Source: Sign at cemetery entrance at Holland Street.) 

Number of Burials:


Other Links:

Headstone Photographs can be found at the following links - Mackay City Cemetery





Mackay Regional Council have produced a 15 page booklet in collaboration with the Mackay Family History Society providing details of 29 graves of early pioneers of historical interest and their locations. Available from the Mackay Regional Council.

Download a PDF Copy via this link:

Mackay Cemetery Walk  (PDF 3.0MB) 

Burial Records: Burial Records for the Old Mackay Cemetery are held by:
  1. Mackay Family History Society
  2. Mackay Regional Council

Contact the above organisations for any details regarding burials. A small charge is requested for provision of any information

If you can supply any further information or photographs on the above please contact us by EMAIL
Glen Hall

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last updated 09 September 2023 .
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