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Axedale Catholic Cemetery

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Corner of McIvor Highway and Cemetery Road, Axedale VIC 3551. Gate is accessed via a dirt track off McIvor Highway

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  • Cemetery surrounded by stone walls
  • Beautiful mausoleum
  • Bushland setting
The hauntingly beautiful Axedale Catholic Cemetery is located right alongside the Axedale General Cemetery and is surrounded by charming stone walls. An impressive mausoleum stands proudly among the headstones.

The two separate cemeteries are a result of tensions between local Irish and English immigrants who established themselves on the McIvor diggings in the 1850s.

A beautifully presented information sign at nearby Axedale Park displays the following text regarding this divided community:

A town divided

A large contingent of Irish immigrants found their way to the McIvor diggings in the 1850s, pushed out of their homeland by the famine in Ireland. They gathered at places such as Axedale where tensions between the Irish and English were played out on a community level through the establishment of separate cemeteries, football teams, churches, schools and hotels for Catholics and Protestants. 

From 1854, Rev Henry Backhaus purchased large numbers of township blocks in Bendigo and over 5,000 acres of farming land on the Campaspe River in the Axedale district. Backhaus leased the land to Irish Catholic farmers in order 'to further the interests of religion in this quarter and encourage a permanent settlement of Catholics in all these vicinities'. He also financed a Catholic school, cemetery and church at Axedale. 

A town united

Axedale's population dwindled over the years, but now, once again, more than 500 residents call the town home and a variety of community groups have a united commitment to the township's prosperous future.


  • Many cemeteries in the goldfields were established in the early-mid 19th century. Walking through the historic cemeteries of the area is like taking a walk through time.


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