Australia Cemeteries

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Toowong Cemetery Brisbane Australia

Cemetery records often give more information than church burial records and may include the deceased’s name, age, date of death or burial, birth year or date of birth, and sometimes marriage information. They may also provide clues about an ancestor’s military service, religion, occupation, place of residence at time of death, or membership in an organization. Cemetery records are especially helpful for identifying ancestors who were not recorded in other records, such as children who died young or women. They may also give clues to finding more information. In Australia, the first cemetery is reported to have been in Sydney in 1788.

Burial Records[edit | edit source]

Burial records and plot books (cemetery plans) kept by cemetery officials are especially valuable when trying to find an ancestor who could not afford a gravestone or monument. The records and books are usually held in the cemetery’s administration office or by the local council or church.

Sexton’s records
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Also known as register books, these records list the deceased’s name, date of death or burial, and plot number or description.

Plot Books and Cemetery Plans[edit | edit source]

These give a diagrammatic description of a cemetery. Each grave is shown by number with the name of the person buried there. These records may have been transcribed and listed in alphabetical order. By examining the original plot book or cemetery plan, rather than relying on alphabetized transcripts, you may find relatives buried in adjoining plots.

Lone Graves[edit | edit source]

Because of the vast distances between settlements, many people who died en route to other localities were buried where they died. These types of burials are known as lone graves. Many of these lone graves have been located, and the known information has been transcribed and collected.

Station Burials[edit | edit source]

Many burials were on stations, which are small settlements on large tracts of grazing land. These burials were generally limited to family members or workers at the station. Station burials were on private ground, and seldom was burial information transcribed, except in a published family or local history.

Finding These Records[edit | edit source]

Local genealogical periodicals may publish sexton’s records and transcripts of tombstone information. For information on periodicals, read the Periodicals article. When death and burial records are difficult to find, contact a local library, historical society, or historian. They may have the records you seek or can help you locate obscure family plots or relocated cemeteries. For information on archives and societies, read the Archives and Libraries and the Societies articles.

Finding Tombstones
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To find tombstone inscriptions or burial records, you must know where an individual was buried. Clues to burial places may be found in funeral notices, obituaries, church records, and death certificates. Individuals were usually buried in a church, community, or private cemetery near the place where they lived or died. Cemetery locations may be found on maps of the area. For information on maps, see the article about Maps.

The following Websites should be checked for information.

Printed Transcripts[edit | edit source]

Often, this information has been transcribed, indexed, and published and is found in manuscripts and books in libraries and archives. The Family History Library has copies of some of these books. Be aware that large cemeteries are transcribed in sections. Be sure to look to see if the transcription you are using is of the entire cemetery or just a section of it.

Family History Library Collection[edit | edit source]

The following is a directory of transcribed cemetery inscriptions:

  • Killion, Martyn C. H., and Heather E. Garnsey, Editors. Cemeteries in Australia, a register of transcripts. 3rd ed. Sydney, N. S. W., Australia: Australasian Federation of Family History Organizations, 1994. (FHL book 994 V34m.)

The Family History Library has copies of some cemetery records, compiled or published tombstone inscriptions, and some burial records. These are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Indexes to cemetery records are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at: