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Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial

  • 600753
  • East Street, Mount Morgan

General

Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
21 October 1992
Type
Burial ground: Cemetery—public
Themes
1.4 Peopling places: Family and marking the phases of life
8.1 Creating social and cultural institutions: Worshipping and religious institutions
Architect
Busby & Hurlow
Builder
Busby & Hurlow
Construction periods
1886, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial (1886 -)
1908, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Grave marker - Angel & Stele (1908 - 1908)
1909, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Memorial - broken column (Linda Memorial) (1909 - 1909)
1909, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Grave marker - slab (Dannetto) (1909 - 1909)
1910, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Grave marker - Celtic cross (Barret family) (1910s - 1910s)
1928, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Sarcophagus (Piggott) (1928 - 1928)
1990, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Memorial - cairn (Bayali) (1990s - 1990s)
unknown, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Chinese ceremonial burner
unknown, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Trees/plantings
unknown, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Grave marker - broken column & football(Manson) (1909 - 1907)
unknown, Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial - Headstone (Ah Sha)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century
Style
Classicism

Location

Address
East Street, Mount Morgan
LGA
Rockhampton Regional Council
Coordinates
-23.65806424, 150.39026144

Map

Street view

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The cemetery in its form, memorials and plantings illustrates the history of Mt Morgan, a major mining centre in Queensland which made an important contribution to the economy of the state for over a hundred years.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

The Mount Morgan cemetery contains a well preserved Chinese ceremonial burner believed to be the only example of its kind in Queensland.

Criterion CThe place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Queensland’s history.

The cemetery has the potential to reveal information on burial customs of the late 19th and 20th centuries and on the social fabric of Mount Morgan.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

It is a good example of a regional cemetery in use since the end of the 19th century and includes a broad range of memorials, including some that are idiosyncratic and personalised.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Many of the monuments in Mount Morgan cemetery have aesthetic significance due to the high quality of workmanship and design used in their construction and to their garden setting.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

The cemetery has a special association with the community of Mount Morgan and the surrounding area.

History

The earliest burial recorded in Mount Morgan Cemetery is that of James Kennedy in 1886. The cemetery was reserved in 1889 and occupies an area of 4.5 hectares of land to the south of the township. It continues in use and has many fine and unusual memorials.

Mount Morgan is a town which developed to support the open cut mine of the same name situated on the Dee River, 30 kms south west of Rockhampton. It was part of Calliungal pastoral run taken up by the Leith Hay family in the 1850s. Although gold bearing ore had been found in the area in 1870, it was not until 1882 that the three Morgan brothers and other businessmen formed a syndicate to mine and process deposits at Ironstone Mountain, which proved extremely rich. Mount Morgan was mined for 99 years, yielding 225,00 kilos of gold, 50,000 kilos of silver and 360,000 tonnes of copper. The mine was the economic focus of the town until ore production ceased in 1981 and the company finally ceased operations on 31 December 1992. The cemetery has continuously served the town for virtually the whole of its existence.

The most striking memorial in the cemetery is probably the Linda Memorial. On 5 November 1908, an accident occurred in the Linda section of the mine in which seven men where killed. Widespread concern and sympathy were evoked and a large public funeral was held. Five more miners were killed on 4 November of that year and a monument was erected for all who had died as the result of accidents in the Mount Morgan Mine; a total of 26 miners between 3 December 1894 and 28 July 1909. The memorial was constructed in 1909 by Busby and Hurlow of Toowong, Brisbane and unveiled by the Mayor of Mount Morgan, John Morrison, on 7 November 1909. It is a fitting memorial in a mining town and a poignant reminder of the danger inherent in mining operations.

The cemetery also contains a Chinese ceremonial burner, (A heung lew or xiang lu), thought to be the only one of its type and age in Queensland, which was used for burning symbolic papers and offerings for the dead. There were many Chinese in Mount Morgan from its inception working in mining, trade and market gardening. Most Chinese in Australia in the 19th century were sojourners, working here to earn money and then return home. Traditionally, Chinese who died overseas were buried locally and their remains exhumed and repatriated when this could be arranged by their families. Because of this custom, some burials were accompanied by a bottle containing identification details, rather than by erecting a headstone. Many such burials were not, in fact, relocated and the burner was used both for funerary offerings and for special festival offerings. The shrine is one of the few physical reminders of the Chinese community of Mount Morgan, who played an important role in developing the town. It is not known if there are still accompanying burials.

The cemetery also contains a broad range of memorials from the 1880s to the present day, many of a high quality of workmanship.

Description

The Mount Morgan Cemetery sits on a west facing hill on the east side of the Burnett Highway, south of the township. The cemetery is bounded by a star picket and wire fence with some timber posts on the northern side. There are brick gates, also serving as a columbarium, on the eastern side adjacent to the Apex Park which separates the cemetery from the Highway. A standard stock gate to the north and three pedestrian turnstiles, two along the curved south eastern corner and one along the northern boundary, provide access to the cemetery.

The cemetery is divided into sections by paths connecting to a main avenue entered by a cast iron gate and turnstile. Large pines line the path and cast iron seating is found along it. The cemetery is arranged into denominational areas in north-south strips and have been developed east to west up the hill. The cemetery contains a wide array of monumental masonry. The headstones are laid in traditional east/west orientation, most are the work of Rockhampton masons although some were made by masons in Brisbane. A number of the graves are surrounded with iron railings in a variety of designs. There is an extensive range of materials utilised in the construction of the monuments mostly white marble, sandstone and grey granite, but also red granite, iron, concrete and timber. The styles of memorials range from simple Georgian forms to elaborate Gothic, Edwardian and Victorian structures, as well as Art Deco inspired and modern slab and desk types. A high proportion of graves have artificial flowers in glass domes, early examples being porcelain and recent ones silk flowers.

The Linda Memorial is a concrete structure approximately 6.5 metres high. It comprises a square base surmounted by a broken, reeded column, symbolising life cut short, which is about 2 metres high and surmounted by a wreath.. Marble panels on each of the four faces carry the names of miners killed in accidents. Floral emblems including the rose, shamrock and thistle, symbolising the countries of origin of the miners decorate the base of the memorial which is surrounded by a low concrete wall. An inscription on the front of the memorial reads: Erected by their fellow workmen and citizens to the memory of the miners who have lost their lives in the Mount Morgan Mine unveiled 7th November 1909 by James Morrison, Esq., Mayor.

The Chinese burner is sited with the hillside rising behind it, regarded as an auspicious location, and is constructed of rendered brick and concrete set on a concrete base. It is approximately 2.230 metres high and comprises a 1.250 metre square base surmounted by a truncated pyramid topped by a small two tiered ornament. There is an oven opening in the centre of one side with a metal door set it in and an opening for removing ash below. Small elongated oval vents are set to the right hand side of 3 faces of the pyramid top.

Other monuments of note include:

- a three metre high Celtic cross with shamrock motif erected for Thomas and Katherine Barret and their children (1910s);

- A three metre high sandstone broken column with a rusticated pedestal and white marble tablet and a sandstone football for Tom Harrow Manson in 1907 and 'erected by his many sporting friends';

- A white marble slab with an inscription laid in copper to Giovanni Dannetto who 'met his death at the copper works' , erected by his colleagues in 1909;

- A sandstone sarcophagus with stylised medieval cross in relief for Edward Pigott in 1928;

- A carving of an angel and a white marble stele to Ellen Lyons in 1908;

- A Chinese grave with narrow sandstone headstone with Chinese script to Ah Sha;

- a 1990s memorial cairn for the Bayali, the local Aborigine people, which marks bones returned from London;

- a number of graves with framed supports on which are set immortelles, some inside protective cylinders

There are only a few major plantings, mainly trees, which predominantly include eucalyptus and poinciana. There are some remnant plantings including orchids, mother of millions, various bulbs, aloe, yucca, camellia, oleander and geranium, but evidence on site suggests that other plantings may have been killed by poisoning. Ground cover is a mixture of native and introduced grasses.

Image gallery

Location

Location of Mount Morgan Cemetery including Chinese Shrine and Linda Memorial within Queensland
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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