This old public cemetery is located approximately twenty kilometres from Nhill heading west to Kaniva and approximately one kilometre south from the Western Highway . Lawloit is a small town in the Wimmera about 390 kilometres from Melbourne .
In February 1885 a school was established in the Lawloit township on a two acresite and it opened in July, 1885. The school continued in use until March 1943 when it was finally closed.
On the 29 th October, 1880 a site of five acres was gazetted as a Public Cemetery (VGG 1880/2660). In 1892 the first set of trustees were appointed for the cemetery. The archive file held by the Department of Human Services Cemeteries Unit on this old cemetery note that no annual financial statements were forwarded to the Public Health Department as required under the Cemetery Act, nor is there any record of any correspondence regarding this cemetery up until 1967. The cemetery is currently located on Morgans Road .
On 16 August, 1967 in Memorandum from an Officer of the General Health Branch to the Secretary, Commission of Public Health, noted the following: “On 6 th June, 1967 I visited the area and inspected the cemetery in company with a member of the local Historical Society. This land which is 12 miles from Nhill and approximately half a mile south from the Western Highway is uncleared and is unfenced on the north and east sides. There are no graves in evidence, but the official informed me that although there is no record of any burials, the local people known of one person probably an aboriginal being buried in the reserve many years ago.”
Following further talks by the officer of the General Heath Branch with the Kaniva Shire Secretary, the officer was informed that enquires had been made in the District by the Shire and it was revealed that one person was buried in the cemetery many years ago. No details were known about this burial. There were no cemetery records of burials to be found.
The Genealogical Society of Victoria holds a small file of one page on the Lawloit Cemetery in its cemetery file area [V 929.59456 LAWL PIC] – “ Lawloit Cemetery: near Lawloit Homestead ”. The information in this file was supplied by the Nhill Historical Society in June, 1970 and it noted that only one grave was known and that was for a Robert Webb . No date of death/burial, or further information, was listed. There was no headstone. The file also noted that there were two other graves located near the Lawloit Homestead.
In April 1967 a request was made to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey by a local landowner, to issue a grazing licence over the area. The General Health Branch stated that at a meeting on 29 th August, 1967 , after reviewing the records of the cemetery, that they had no objection to the issue of a Grazing Licence over the area. They noted: but suggest that in view of the availability of burial accommodation in nearby cemeteries in the district, there is no need for this Crown Land to remain a reserve for cemetery purposes.” Unfortunately the old cemetery file does not identify if the cemetery land was revoked.
Further research needs to be undertaken to identify who was the lone burial in the cemetery; was it Robert Webb or an aboriginal. It is assumed that the burial took place after the cemetery was gazetted in October, 1880. Also were there any other burials in it.
If anyone has any further information on this old cemetery, specifically about the burials, I would appreciate hearing from them.
David Weatherill Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia