Some symbols found in the South Brisbane Cemetery
- Anchor: Early Christian symbol of hope; deceased had maritime connection.
- Angel: Messengers of God.
- Broken column: A life cut short.
- Clasped hands: Unity and affection even after death.
- Column: Universally associated with commemoration, and often used on war memorials.
- Flowers: Human life and beauty, but also have individual associations. Daisy: innocence. Lily: purity. Pansy: symbolizes remembrance and humility. Poppy: sleep. Rose: associated with the Virgin Mary. A red rose symbolizes martyrdom and a white rose symbolizes purity.
- Oak: Christ, whose cross was thought to be made from the oak.
- Palm: Originally a symbol of military victory, it was adapted into Christianity as a symbol of Christ's victory of death.
- Hands: A hand with the index finger pointing upwards symbolizes the hope of heaven.
- Heart: Traditionally a symbol of love, courage and intelligence, the flaming heart signifies extreme ardor. The heart encircled with thorns symbolizes the suffering of Christ.
- Hourglass: The attribute of death and Father Time, the hourglass symbolises the passage of time and the shortness of life.
- Lamb: Christ in his sacrificial role; personifies innocence, gentleness and humility, and was often used on the graves of children.
- Obelisk: A 19th-century ‘Egyptian revival’ decoration universally associated with commemoration.
- Torch: Originally the torch was a Greek symbol of life and truth, but the inverted torch in funerary art symbolises death.
- Urn: Originating as a repository for the ashes of the dead in ancient times, the urn has evolved into a popular symbol of mourning.
- Wreath: Originally an ancient symbol of victory, it was adopted into the Christian religion to represent the victory of the Redemption. It is now a common memorial symbol.
Book: Rock of Ages: South Brisbane Cemetery Symbolism. A surprising array of gravestone symbolism awaits the visitor to the history-laden South Brisbane Cemetery. Ships and anchors, palettes and lambs, angels and cherubs, Russian and Celtic crosses, and a variety of plants and flowers that held a range of meanings for Victorian-era people. Based on the databases of the 'Friends of South Brisbane Cemetery', Rock of Ages provides an attractive photographic record of these headstones.