Cemetery improvements include digital record scanning

Bundaberg cemetery new signs
Mayor Jack Dempsey with Council staff Jonathon Downing and Nicholas Burfield at the Bundaberg Lawn and General Cemetery.

Significant improvements have been made to the Bundaberg Lawn and General Cemetery to improve its appearance and preserve the history of the region’s cemeteries.

Thousands of burial records dating back to 1879 have been scanned and recorded electronically.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was a big job for staff who had to individually scan each sheet of fragile and, at times, irregularly shaped paper.

“This is an important accomplishment, not just for the ease of staff accessing records now available electronically, but to preserve this historical information,” Mayor Dempsey said.

Four years in the making, he said instead of becoming a monotonous task for staff it was embraced due to the importance of the initiative and the many interesting facts discovered.

“The very first burial plot in the Bundaberg General Cemetery that remains in its current location belongs to Hannah Elizabeth Thompson and dates back to late August 1873,” he said.

“Staff also came across familiar names in the records including Richard Ruddell, Bundaberg’s first mayor.

“Major events including outbreaks of diphtheria and natural disasters can also be traced through the records.”

Bundaberg Lawn Cemetery
Jonathon Downing, Nicholas Burfield and Mayor Jack Dempsey at the Bundaberg Lawn Cemetery.

Bundaberg Lawn and General Cemetery changes

Mayor Dempsey said visitors to the cemetery may have noticed some other changes slowly taking shape.

“We have been working on a number of projects to improve the appearance of the Bundaberg Lawn and General Cemetery,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Improved signage has not only modernised the cemetery’s appearance but, when installation is finalised, will make it easier for residents to locate their loved ones.

“A number of roads have been resurfaced and tree planting has been undertaken along the side of internal roads.

“This will all help towards beautifying the area and creating more shade.”

Other works include an upgrade to the outdated Columbarium building and toilet block.

Office upgrades have also enabled the installation of new public seating.

“Previously, family members who have come to make arrangements for their loved ones have not had a formal seating area or an opportunity to view current plaque options,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Now they can complete the necessary paperwork in a more dignified area and easily choose between the available plaque options.”

He said it was part of an ongoing plan to revitalise cemeteries across the Bundaberg Region.


  1. As a longtime family genealogist, I applaud Bundy Council, and particularly the Bundy Library staff for this wonderful initiative. It is so nice to have free online access to such information. It is also a wonderful resource for school teachers to have their students use for history or genealogy assignments. Being pushy, might I suggest a future project, which I have long had in mind? Council’s computing experts might establish an online digital cemetery, which has a photograph of each plot in the cemetery — especially the headstones etc.; attach a hyperlink to the relevant entry in these Burial Registers; also attach a link (if such a thing is possible) to the Queensland DEATH INDEX entry for each person shown; AND provide a means for the community to provide their input to each listing — it could be family biographies of the deceased person; brief family histories or stories, etc.; possibly also links to mentions of the person in the National Library of Australia’s TROVE records. This project might create employment opportunities for people with disabilities who can perform the searches and linking etc. from their own homes. Congratulations again to Bundy Council. And again I commend this wonderful Bundaberg Now initiative too. An excellent news service, free to us all.

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