The Waterfall State Sanatorium for Tuberculosis operated between 1909 and 1949. It contains the remains of around 2,065 people, most of whom were inmates succumbing to tuberculosis. Isolated from the general community and separated from their families, their deaths were slow, painful and often lonely. The patients of the Sanatorium came from all walks of life, and many were minor celebrities of the day.They had access to varying amounts of social and financial capital, reflected by the memorialisation on their graves and in many ways, the site is typical of any small-town cemetery. However, the Waterfall Cemetery also shared the social stigma of other institutional cemeteries, leading to its complete neglect after the closure of the Sanatorium.

This research builds on the surveying, mapping and condition reporting of the cemetery conducted by the University of Queensland Culture and Heritage Unit in February 2017.

About the Presenter

Dr Hilda Maclean is a consultant historian and genealogist attached to the University of Queensland Culture and Heritage Unit.


About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.


Level 4, Michie Building (09),
St Lucia Campus,
The University of Queensland