Areas of Interest Guide: Arthur Francis

This is grave number 8B-379. These ‘areas of interest’ are marked on the entry signs in the cemetery.

The Francis grave.

Occasional outbreaks of bubonic plague in early 20th-century Queensland resulted in 219 deaths, many of them in Brisbane. Another outbreak in 1921 caused 63 deaths, and the last case was reported in 1922.

Many early victims were interred in a special plague burial ground on Gibson Island, in the Brisbane River near Murarrie. The bodies were wrapped in sheets soaked in carbolic acid and placed in lime-slaked coffins, and then transported on a ‘plague boat’ and accompanied only by two warders and a doctor, who was authorised to read the funeral service. This practice was soon stopped due to protests from victims’ families, and all future plague burials took place in regular cemeteries.

There are at least six bubonic plague victims buried in the South Brisbane Cemetery, including Arthur Francis of Brighton Road, South Brisbane, who died in April 1902. He was 25 years old.

Woolloongabba street cordoned during plague, 1900. (SLQ)

Nearby ‘Areas of Interest’

Thomas Blacket Stephens (mayor and businessman) – Portion 10A
Eleanor Bourne (first female medical student in Queensland) – Portion 8B
Henry O’Reilly (mariner) – Portion 11A
Hodgen family grave (childhood deaths) – Portion 8A
Joseph Espie Dods (doctor and war hero) – Portion 9A
Jane Hockings (first burial in the cemetery) – Portion 8A