The Stonemasons

The quality of the many of the monuments in South Brisbane Cemetery is testament to the skill of the craftsmen who created them. 

There were only a couple of monumental masons in 1860s Brisbane, but a massive population boom and corresponding increase in funerals saw many more in the trade by the end of the century. Some of these people preferred to refer to themselves as ‘sculptors’ rather than ‘masons’. 

The name of the monumental masons responsible for each headstone in the cemetery was usually marked on small metal plaques in the corner of the grave monument, or carved into the stone itself, or marked there with lead lettering (see image below). Some of these plaques survive today, and include such businesses as Batstones, Lowthers, and Petrie & Son. 

Advertisement for Batstone & Son, stonemasons, 1894.
Advertisement for John Petrie & Son, 1893.
Simmonds stonemasons, next to St Andrew's Church, Ann Street, Brisbane, ca. 1915. (John Oxley Library)

The following monumental masons all created work that can be found in South Brisbane Cemetery today:

  • John Petrie & Sons
  • Andrew L. Petrie
  • John Simmonds
  • Frank Downes
  • John and P.J. Lowther
  • Phillip Lowther
  • Frank E. Ives
  • Frank Mansbridge
  • William Busby
  • William Batstone
  • Alfred Batstone
  • James Gordon
  • Clarence Grundy Pilling
  • William Parsons
  • W.E. Parsons 
  • Henry Payne
  • William E. Prout
  • Edward Logan Thumm
  • L. Young
  • Batstone & Smith
  • H.G. Jones
  • Timothy Wrafter
  • Chambers and Clutten (Melbourne)
  • Peter Sturrock (Woonona, NSW)
  • Hind (London)
  • G. Maile & Son (London)
  • Frank Williams (Ipswich)
  • Ernest Greenway (Ipswich)
  • E. Fortescue (Ipswich)
  • Rudolph Ziegler (Toowoomba)
Examples of stonemason's labels on headstones in South Brisbane Cemetery. (FOSBC)