The Pioneer Graves are located at the original site of the Maryborough settlement of the 1840s. The site is marked by a plaque as an Australian Bicentennial Project in 1988.
Another plaque says “Heritage Site. This site is part of the original Maryborough Settlement of the 1840s. Several pioneers lie here including George Furber, the area’s first settler”.
The first known burials in the area was in the 1850s but could have started earlier with many pioneers buried with no records of the graves or the names of the people in them.
There are two grave sites at the park, the Furbers and the McAdams. They are a distance apart from each other on either side of Aldridge St.
The headstones of the Furber graves are very weathered, the text on them are mostly unreadable. In front of the headstones is a modern plaque with the following:
Sacred to the memory of George Furber aged 45 years
also Joseph Thomas Wilmshurst, son in law of the above aged 28 years
who were cruelly murdered by the blacks at Tinana Creek Wide Bay on the 3rd December 1855 in the midst of life we are in death
Sacred to the memory of Mrs W. Furber
who departed this life August 21 1850 aged 63 years
leaving a husband & family to deplore their loss
The left headstone is broken in half but is mostly legible. The plaque below it reads:
Sacred to the memory of William McAdam, First Chief Constable of Maryborough who departed this life 19th March 1860 aged 70 years. Well respected by all who knew him
also Rose Hannah McAdam who departed this life 10th March 1871 aged 73 years
also Catherine Deigan who departed this life 23rd December 1860 aged 24 years
Sweet Jesus have mercy on their souls.
The headstone on the right is in one piece and upright. The plaque below it reads:
In This Shall Thou Conquer
Sacred to the memory of Sarah Bridget Shea who departed this life on the 5th of December 1851 aged 22 years
also her sister Ann Teressa McAdam who departed this life on the 5th of February 1850 aged 22 years
This headstone is erected by John Shea as a tribute to their memory
and also Phelip Augustin McAdam aged 18 years and Susanah Mary McAdam aged 20 years who was drowned at sea AD 1852.
May their souls rest in peace. AMEN
The grave sites are about 100m down Aldridge St. At the start of the park, at the corner of Aldridge St and Alice St, a slab hut style picnic table shelter is accompanied with a plaque, declaring the original Maryborough site and there could be more than 150 pioneers buried beneath the ground.
Another picnic table is near the Furber graves. Both picnic tables have a water tab near them.
The last burial took place in the 1870s when the cemetery was moved closer to the new town location of Maryborough. The second official cemetery opened in 1871, now the Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens , lasting only a couple of years before being replaced again in 1873.
To get there:
Heading south on Bruce Hwy, continue
Heading north on Bruce Hwy, on crossing Mary River take the exit towards Maryborough and go to the right on the roundabout onto Alice St. Follow Alice St for 750m and turn right into Aldridge St with a brown sign for Pioneer Graves. The Maryborough original site park is immediately on the right side of the road, with the grave sites about 100m on either side of Aldridge St.
Coming from Hervey Bay, head towards Maryborough on Saltwater Creek Rd. In Maryborough, Saltwater Creek Rd bends to the right becoming John St. Continue on John St for 600m and turn right into Walker St. Follow Walker St for 850m and turn right onto Alice St. Follow Alice St for 750m and turn right into Aldridge St with a brown sign for Pioneer Graves. The Maryborough original site park is immediately on the right side of the road, with the grave sites about 100m on either side of Aldridge St.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Pets: Yes, on leash