March 1971: Grave Of Walter Hill 

The placing of a commemorative plaque on the grave of  the Brisbane Botanic Gardens will be one of our main projects this coming year. Mrs. Barry and Mrs. Richardson recently visited the grave, which is situated in Toowong Cemetery with Mr. Caulfield, present Curator.


It proved to be a most interesting afternoon, as he later took us over the proposed new botanic gardens, which undoubtedly will be extremely beautiful. The location is a perfect one, and Garden Clubs can be assured of some wonderful field days in the future observing the development of Mr. Caulfield’s exciting plans. To return to the grave (not literally of course), it is in quite good repair and condition The monument will need some restoration work on the lettering for which we will obtain quotes. The President had an interview with Mr. Mattett of the Brisbane City Council Health Dept. He expressed his delight with our interest and offer of the plaque, and indicated that the Council will assist by recommending a firm which carries out Council work of this nature, thereby reducing costs considerably. It is envisaged that the finished article will cost between $3O—$4O. The inscription will be obtained from the following history provided by Mr. Caulfield.


 WalterHillPlaque 7 4 09














“Walter Hill, first Director Brisbane Botanic Gardens, 21.2.1855—1.3.1881.  Original appointment was as Superintendent. He was made Govt. Botanist in 1859. Hill was born at Scotsdyke, Dumfriesshire, Scotland in 1820.  He trained as a gardener and was on the staff of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh 1841—43, and from 1843—51 was at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England. He was very active in plant introduction of both economic and ornamental species. He died at Eight Mile Plains on 4th February, 1904.”
Mr. Caulfield informed us that he considered Walter Hill had introduced many beautiful exotic trees into Queensland, possibly the very large Jacaranda growing in the Gardens as the ‘grandfather’ (or should it be ‘grandmother’) of all the Jacarandas now enhancing Brisbane by their beauty. We hope to include something of this in the inscription, as eventually, when the Toowong Cemetery receives its last interment, it is hoped to remove the monument to the old or the new Botanic Gardens for posterity.


October 1972                                                                                             

The Walter Hill Ceremony   


It seems not so long ago — back in early August —that members from various clubs gathered in the Toowong Cemetery to see the Lord Mayor, Alderman Clem Jones, unveil a plaque honouring the memory of this man, the first Director (as he was then called) of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Many distinguished people were also present, and the grave surrounds had been most beautifully adorned by St. Lucia Garden Club with flowers and plants provided by Mr. H. Caulfield, the present Curator) who chose them for their links with Walter Hill. In the distance could be heard Scottish airs played by a piper, who preceded the official car as it drove slowly to the graveside. A wonderful morning, and one in which all members of the Council may take pride in remembering.
walter hill grave
You can visit his grave at Toowong Cemetry Plot 6, Section 21, Allotment 9.

Article by Glenda Cooper – an extract from The Sunday Mail article by Jane Keogh

Botanist Walter Hill was born in Scotland in 1820.  He gained experience in Kew Gardens in London and then, seeking adventure, emigrated to Australia in 1852.  In 1855, Hill was appointed Curator tasked with creating Brisbane’s first Botanic Gardens. Hill inherited the old six-acre marshy market garden.  He badgered the Government to extend the gardens right to the riverbank on three sides enabling a site of 25 acres and creating water vistas as well as the pleasure of waterfront strolling.

Hill planted whatever grew best in the sub-tropical climate, blending endemic species with those collected internationally.  He published catalogues of the new Queensland plants and distributed them to curators all over the world, which enabled him to set up a seed and cuttings exchange system. During his term as superintendent, Hill arranged for Queensland flora and fauna to be exhibited at international exhibitions throughout the world and in return, received numerous specimens for Queensland’s benefit.  He also travelled all over the state creating new species of plants.

Hill contributed to agriculture introducing mango, pawpaw, ginger, tamarind, arrowroot, cotton, mahogany and sugar cane.  He also brought the Jacaranda and Poinciana trees to Queensland.

Footnote:  Brisbane, Queensland and Australia owe a debt of gratitude to Walter Hill for his contribution to botany in his new country. 


QCGC - Bringing clubs together through a  mutual love of gardening

 Main Menu     Contact for all enquiries -