The Heritage Horse Drawn Hearse

Monday, 30 April 2018

The Heritage Horse Drawn Hearse, is a beautiful piece of Australian history, and was fully restored by Judith’s father, Kevin McGrath, in 1984 using spotted gum and silky oak timbers.

The remnants of the hearse were located on a farm at Hirstglen, near Gatton in 1981. It is known that the hearse was in service in Gatton prior to 1900 and is considered to be a type manufactured around 1864. It is believed to have been used for the funerals of the three victims of the infamous Gatton murders in 1898.

It was operated by Gatton Funeral Director Mr Ernst Lowe until his death in 1926 when he was killed whilst travelling to the district funeral. The horses bolted under the railway bridge and he hit the superstructure. His widow sold the business to Mr Max Stark and it is thought that he bought the first motor hearse soon after.

Horse drawn hearses were not mass produced, rather they were an individual contract between the Funeral Director and the Coach builder. Sketches and plans were made to suit the local conditions and were crafted from that design. Pulled by horses, the hearse would solemnly lead the funeral procession over rough, dusty or muddy roads to the Cemetery. The Funeral Conductor, in top hat and tails, walked in front of the carriage.

The Heritage horse drawn hearse is still in use today and is a beautiful way to create a meaningful funeral for both you and your loved one – a final, special journey and memory. If you would like further information or any queries please contact us on 07 4634 9946.