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Francis Lookout Burial Ground

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by Julian Groneberg (subscribe)
Freelance copywriter and blogger. Avid dog owner, living in East Brisbane. If you like my articles please hit subscribe or 'like' at the end of the post! To hire me visit www.contentwriterbrisbane.com.au for a range of copywriting services
Published May 2nd 2013
A Corinda historical haunt
francis lookout, gravestone

For a fascinating glimpse into one of the pioneering families of Brisbane, visit the simple but cute heritage site of Francis Lookout Burial Ground in Corinda on Dewar Terrace, in Brisbane's south-west corner.

This is no ordinary cemetery. It's a burial ground for the Francis family who were one of the first families to settle in Corinda, all the way back in 1862.

History of the Francis Lookout

The Francis family purchased a huge swathe of land for farming and agricultural use which extended almost 25 acres. This land including a sizable chunk along the Brisbane River and extends back past where the lookout still stands today.

francis lookout, lookouts brisbane
Established in 1862, the Francis Lookout sits atop Corinda Hill on Dewar Tce, and was part the more than 20 acres that the Francis family owned in the early days of Brisbane's settlement

The cemetery was established in 1863 when tragically their youngest son Clement died and one acre of the land was set aside. Today, five graves of the Francis family are situated together surrounded by white hardwood fencing. The most recent member of the Francis was Mary Francis, who was the wife of the family's oldest son Richard, who was buried here in 1937.

francis family brisbane
5 headstones of the Francis Family are buried together in the burial ground

There are 10 graves in total in the cemetery today with a rumoured 11 gravesite which of which the site is unidentified. This history of this important Brisbane family raised a lot of questions. What was life like for this family in the early settlement era? Why did their youngest son Clement die so tragically? And who was buried at the eleventh grave site? Unfortunately I had more questions than answers.

The Lychgate

lychgate, churchyard gate
The Lychgate is a dramatic entrance to the burial ground, and is built in the tradition of entrances to classic English churchyards.

One of the most notable features at the Francis Lookout Burial Ground is a historic Lychgate, which is a traditional English-style churchyard gate structure complete with roof, and in this case, seating. The word lych gate is derived from the old English word lich which means quite literally 'corpse.' Luckily though they stuck with the Lychgate, since in my opinion, corpse gate just doesn't have the same ring to it.

The Francis Lookout Lychgate was erected in 1902 by the Francis matriarch Angela Francis, on the hilltop which she called 'God's Acre' in honour of her late husband. Today there is a plaque with information about the Francis family and commemorating the unusual Lych-Gate.

How I found the Francis Lookout

Considered to be well known and a well-loved landmark by locals, I literally stumbled upon Francis Lookout by chance after a leisurely Sunday adventure through the nearby Sherwood Arboretum, which is definitely worth a visit. I saw a grassy knoll and a picnic spot, the churchyard lychgate and what looked like some very old headstones. Needless to say I was intrigued. Glad that I bothered to pull over, I was greeted with some fantastic views of the Brisbane skyline extending back towards the northern Suburbs. Rarely had I seen the city at this perspective.

Brisbane city, Corinda Brisbane
The location of Francis Lookout Burial Ground offers a different perspective of the Brisbane CBD

For those wanting a unique perspective of the Brisbane CBD and a little piece of history from one of early Brisbane's most influential families, not to mention a charming picnic spot covered by towering Eucalyptus trees, this place demands that you call in for a visit. Like me, you'll feel like you've discovered it all on your own, when it fact it's been awaiting your discovery since way back in 1862.
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Why? For a fascinating glimpse into one of pioneering families of early Brisbane
When: Anytime - at night only if you dare
Where: 157 Dewar Terrace, Corinda
Your Comment
Hello I'm George, a descendant of the Francis Family. Clement Francis is my Great Grandfather. Clement was a doctor who worked on asthma, like his father, Alexander Francis, who made significant contributions to asthma treatment. Alexander wrote a book, it's name is,'Then and Now: The Story of a Queenslander.
by georg (score: 0|2) 1116 days ago
I am Valerie Francis and married to Clement's son Stewart. George is my grandson. We live in the UK but visited Francis Lookout almost 3 years ago. It was a very moving experience.
by valer (score: 0|2) 980 days ago
Hi, My husband Rodney is also a descendent of the Francis family. His Great Grandfather was Richard Francis (brother of Clement) and Great Grandmother Mary Francis. We also have a copy of the book 'Then and Now: The Story of a Queenslander' which describes their lives when they settled in Australia in 1862.
by dougl (score: 0|4) 272 days ago
Hi
I am the Archivist for the West Hoathly Local History Archive. West Hoathly is where Angela and Arthur Francis's daughter Charlotte came to live with her husband John Godwin King in 1896 I have published a book about the history of West Hoathly which contains the story of this family and their contribution to the village. I also have "Then and Now".
I would be very interested in contacting the members of the Francis family who write below..
John
johneralph@gmail.com
by John Ralph (score: 0|4) 198 days ago
Hi
I am the Archivist for the West Hoathly Local History Archive. West Hoathly is where Angela and Arthur Francis's daughter Charlotte came to live with her husband John Godwin King in 1896 I have published a book about the history of West Hoathly which contains the story of this family and their contribution to the village. I also have "Then and Now".
I would be very interested in contacting the members of the Francis family who write below..
John
johneralph@gmail.com
by John Ralph (score: 0|4) 195 days ago
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