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Cooktown Cemetery

Home > Queensland > Unusual Things to do | Places of Interest | Outdoor | Free
by Kat May (subscribe)
Bringing you events and places of interest to babyboomers and families. If you liked this article please click LIKE or subscribe to me:) Would you like me to write for you? Contact me at katmay.weekendnotes@gmail.com
Published March 12th 2018
Go for a quiet stroll and take in this unique site
Cooktown Cemetery is one of the town's biggest tourist attractions. First developed in 1874, the cemetery has headstones surviving today that date from then. The town of Cooktown was named after the explorer James Cook, who stopped here in this safe harbour after his ship was damaged on the coral reefs on his journey north along the eastern coast of Australia. Cooktown is a fascinating place to visit and the cemetery is a must see.

Cooktown Cemetery, Far North Queensland, FNQ, Australia, history
Image by Kat May


Cooktown Cemetery, Far North Queensland, FNQ, Australia, history
An early iron headstone that soon rusted over in this tropical climate. Image by Kat May


Many people were to follow and the area soon became settled with Chinese immigrants, early settlers and church groups establishing schools and a convent. The rush was on when gold was discovered in 1880s at nearby Palmer. The cemetery reflects the tragedies and harsh living conditions of this remote wilderness of Far North Queensland.

Cooktown Cemetery, Far North Queensland, FNQ, Australia, history
Image by Kat May


Cooktown Cemetery, Far North Queensland, FNQ, Australia, history
An old section of graves bordered by stones. Image by Kat May


There are marked sections of Roman Catholic, Church of England and Anglican religions. There is also a section called "Rebels Corner". Some of the graves are sinking into the sandy soil, while others are being encroached by the jungle plants. As you wander around, read the historic interpretation plaques at the foot of some graves. These tell you of the person buried here and their role in the history of the town.

Cooktown Cemetery, Far North Queensland, FNQ, Australia, history
Image by Kat May


Cooktown Cemetery, Far North Queensland, FNQ, Australia, history
A termite mound beside a grave. Image by Kat May
An interesting thing to do here, is to go on the short nature walk around the edge of the cemetery through the bush and see the natural landscape. However, I would not advise doing this unless you are wearing enclosed shoes as there would be snakes. A kangaroo popped out of the scrub and bounded across the graves nearby. The cemetery is on the very edge of town, so the souls are laid to rest with nature abundant. It is a lovely place to stroll about and you will probably be the only one there alive.

Cooktown Cemetery, Far North Queensland, FNQ, Australia, history
A kangaroo startles me as he bounds across the graves. Image by Kat May.


Cooktown Cemetery, Far North Queensland, FNQ, Australia, history
Image by Kat May
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Why? A top place to visit for history buffs.
When: Open daylight hours.
Phone: 07 4069 6640
Where: Charlotte St Cooktown. Research and Archive Centre is at 121 Charlotte St.
Cost: Free
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