Areas of Interest Guide: Robert Shipp

This is grave number 3B-123. These ‘areas of interest’ are marked on the entry signs in the cemetery.

Robert Shipp
The Shipp grave.

This tall column in a large family plot contains the grave of Robert Shipp (1861-1935), who was born in Warwickshire, England, and arrived in Brisbane with his family on the Young Australia in 1862, at the age of one year. Robert married Margaret Taylor Barclay (1861-1902) in Brisbane in 1881. They had nine children together.

Robert was the sexton (cemetery caretaker) at the South Brisbane Cemetery from about 1887 until the 1930s, and the family lived in the onsite caretaker’s cottage. It was his job to oversee grave digging, attend funerals to offer assistance if required, affix number pegs to each grave, maintain the burial register, lock the gates, keep the grounds and paths in good order, and receive burial fees.

He was reputed to go to work armed with his crowbar and his pet bird (a magpie or crow) sitting on the handle. Three of the Shipp children died and were buried at South Brisbane while Robert was still the sexton here. These were Robert (1884-1895), Daisy (died 1897, aged 3 months), and Minnie (1886-1912). Another son, Joseph (1890-1964), was also buried at the cemetery.

Robert Shipp
Robert Shipp, South Brisbane Cemetery sexton.

Nearby ‘Areas of Interest’

David Gillies (Gallipoli hero) – Portion 3A
Thomas and Williamina Mowbray (early East Brisbane) – Portion 3B
Digby Denham (Queensland Premier) – Portion 3B
Minna Rowe (businesswoman) – Portion 3B
Christina Sailer (German graves) – Portion 3B
James Brunton Stephens (poet) – Portion 2A
Selina Brown (drowning victim) – Portion 2F
Grace Yorston (‘Pearl’ disaster victim) – Portion 5A