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Cooktown Cemetery

Charlotte Street, Cooktown

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Cooktown Cemetery chinese shrine (2010); EHP

Cooktown Cemetery chinese shrine (2010)

Cooktown Cemetery Chinese section (2010); EHP

Cooktown Cemetery Chinese section (2010)

Cooktown Cemetery, Jewish section (2020); EHP

Cooktown Cemetery, Jewish section (2020)

Cooktown Cemetery, old well (2008); EHP

Cooktown Cemetery, old well (2008)

The Cooktown cemetery has been in continuous use since the establishment of the town in October 1873. The cemetery was proclaimed in June 1875 and trustees appointed to represent each of Cooktown’s denominations: Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Hebrew and Wesleyan Methodist. Despite the large Chinese population here, no Chinese person was appointed. The area was resurveyed in 1876 and extended to the east. The entrance gate faces the road to the Palmer River, where gold discoveries led to Cooktown becoming a port. An internal road leads from the gate and forks in the middle of the reserve. The track to the west terminates at a Chinese Shrine with a low concrete altar. North-west of the cemetery, a brick well is situated amongst the trees, dating back to the era of Chinese market gardeners who once worked here. The rest of the site is divided into denominations by simple walking tracks. Significant graves within the site include that of Mary Watson, who died of thirst escaping Lizard Island; mariner Albert Ross Hovell, son of explorer William Hovell and known for his involvement in ‘blackbirding’, and Mother Mary De Sales Meagher, founder of the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Cooktown.

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Coordinates: -15.47596069, 145.24112814

Full details of this heritage-registered place are in the Heritage register.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
28 February 2023