Lillimur South Cemetery



Eleven kilometres south-west of Kaniva is the small township of Lillimur South . Kaniva is on the Western Highway approximately 410 kilometres north-west of Melbourne . In March 1879 the residents of Lillimur (now known as Lillimur South) forwarded a petition to the Victoria Education Department seeking the establishment of a school. On 25 June, 1881 teaching at State School No. 2399 Lillimur South commenced. There were 38 children enrolled at the school. The school continued until 17 December 1852 when it was closed.

On 22 January 1881 a number of selectors and residents forwarded a petition to the Minister of Lands in Melbourne requesting that land be set aside for a public cemetery. The petition signed by fourteen inhabitants of the area requested that the land for the cemetery to be at least ten acres. On 14 July, 1881 a survey was conducted by the Lands Department regarding a suitable site and an area of ten acres was identified and recommended.

On 27 September, 1881 the Governor-in-Council approved ten acres of land to be temporarily reserved in the Parish of Lillimur as a site for a cemetery. The site was gazetted on 23 September, 1881 (Victorian Government Gazette, September 23, 1881: Page: 2668). On 28 August, 1884 the Rules and Regulations for the cemetery were gazetted. The early Trustees for the cemetery were noted as Gavin Douglas, Patrick Woods, J. Collins and M. Harris (Secretary of the Trust).

From January 1914 the Cemetery Trust returned “Nil” Annual Statements to the Victorian Government noting that there had not been any burials in the cemetery and that Nil funds were held by the Cemetery Trust. On 16 January, 1930, Theo Kelly, Shire Secretary, Shire of Lawloit wrote to the Department Of Health noting that the cemetery was no longer in use. The Lawloit Shire Council (that became the Kaniva Shire Council) was appointed the Trustee of the cemetery in 1901.

Of interest is a letter in the Cemetery File, dated 30 October, 1964 from the Commission of Public Health to the Shire of Kaniva noting that that the Commission records indicate that the Lawloit Shire Council was appointed trustees of the Lillimur Public Cemetery in 1901 and also trustee for the Lillimur North Public Cemetery in 1892. It is believed that the Lillimur North Public Cemetery could now be the Kaniva Public Cemetery .

In May 1966 a request was made by the Shire of Kaniva as Trustee, to the Department of Health for a Grant of $200 for General Maintenance (erection of a rabbit proof fence and the removal of dead timber and general cleaning of the area occupied by the graves) and in July 1975 a further request by the Shire was made for a grant of $600 for the Reconstruction of the Roadway within the cemetery.

In January 1993 the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Horsham Region) wrote to the Cemeteries and Crematoria Section of the Health Department Victoria noting that the Department was seeking to ascertain if there would be any objections for the Department to issue a Gazing Licence over the Cemetery Reserve. The letter also notes that; “The Department advises that the cemetery site has been inspected and there is no evidence of any headstones or graves over the site. The site is in fact occupied for stock grazing purposes.” The Health Department replied on 4 February 1993 stating that it had no objections if the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources wished to offer a Grazing Licence over the site.

The Genealogical Society of Victoria holds a small file on this cemetery (2 pages) in its library as part of its cemetery records [V 929.5945 LILL MCB]. In 1983 Sue McBeth provided a report to the GSV with details on this cemetery, noting that “ there are only a few headstones and fenced graves, all of which are in good condition.” So sometime between 1983 and 1992 it would appear that the headstones noted in Sue McBeth's report had disappeared. It would be of value to try to find out what happened to these headstones. The file also has a map of the cemetery site.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment's Cadastral Plan for the area notes the cemetery site is still listed, just off David Hawker Road on a small track.

The headstones noted in the 1983 data were for the families of Black (two graves), Collins, Douglas, Marchant and Tomlinson; 6 graves with memorial inscriptions, mainly dating from 1883 to 1894. One of the memorial inscriptions for the Black family note a death in 1939. There are no dates for the Marchant and Tomlinson graves in the record.

So further research is needed to ascertain the current status of this old cemetery reserve. Current data on the cemetery reserve, notes that management of it is with the Department of Sustainability and Environment. If anyone has any further information on this old cemetery, I would appreciate hearing from them.


  • Department of Human Services: Cemeteries and Crematorium Unit; “ Lillimur South Cemetery ”, File: H-CEM-294.
  • Department of Sustainability and Environment (Historic places), “ Lillimur Cemetery Reserve ”, also known as “ Lillimur South Cemetery ”.
  • Genealogical Society of Victoria : “ Lillimur South Public Cemetery ”, Cemetery File. [V929.5945 LILL MCB]
  • Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages- Victoria : Death Certificates.
  • Vision and Realisation: Education Department of Victoria , (1973). Volume: 2, p.182
  • 1 December, 2008
    David Weatherill
    Bundoora, Victoria, Australia



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