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. [www.wdrc.qld.gov.au/living-here/cemeteries/western-downs-cemeteries/chinchilla-district-cemeteries]
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