The Story of the Axedale Catholic Cemetery

Axedale Cemetry Mausoleum1The Axedale Catholic Cemetery site was purchased by Dr Henry Backhaus in 1866 and the first burial took place the following year. In his article, Dr Nolan discusses difficulties arising from a lack of consistent record keeping over a long period of time; and the controversy as to whether the cemetery was private or public, an issue that was not resolved until the 1970s.

This historically significant cemetery is surrounded by a stone wall and is located next to the public cemetery on McIvor Highway on the outskirts of Axedale.

Dr Nolan references over 50 documents including contemporary newspaper reports, records found in the Public Record Office of Victoria and legal documents.

Although the land was owned by the Backhaus Estate it was managed by trustees until ownership was transferred to the RC Trust Corporation for the Diocese of Sandhurst in 2014. The Diocese then entered a contract with Remembrance Parks Central Victoria to manage the cemetery on its behalf.

The booklet has 34 pages, including the list of burials and includes photographs and illustrations. It is hoped to have copies available at the Axedale church. Enquiries may be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This history joins a number of others by the author, including: Centenary Commemoration- Sacred Heart Cathedral 1901-2001(40pp) (2001); The Enterprising Life of Dr Henry Backhaus, 2008 (136 pp) (available on Google Books) and Collected Articles on the History of the Diocese of Sandhurst 2018 (130pp). The latter includes 66 short articles previously published monthly in the Sandpiper newspaper.


 Picture: The Mausoleum at Axedale Catholic Cemetery