Lillimur is a vanishing rural village on the Western Highway in the northern Wimmera region, north-west Victoria, 15 km east of the South Australia border. The place name came from the Lillymur pastoral station, formed in 1866 from the consolidation and re-subdivision of two former pastoral runs. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word meaning bone or wattle gum.
A township was reserved at Lillimur South in 1878, the first in the Kaniva district. It was named Lillimur first. There was also a settlement to the north, at which a school was opened in 1879. It was named Kaniva. Within a few years the Kaniva name was moved eastwards to where a flour mill was opened (1881), the Kaniva of today. Lillimur became Lillimur South, and the former Kaniva became the present day Lillimur or Lillimur North.
Until the development of present day Kaniva, Lillimur had several stores, two hotels, a Wesleyan church (1881) and a mechanics’ institute (1882). The extension of the railway from Dimboola to Serviceton in 1887 resulted in the line running through Kaniva and bypassing Lillimur about 2 km southwards to take advantage of an easier gradient. That event sealed Kaniva’s prominence over Lillimur. The transformation was far from instantaneous however, as Lillimur had a court house and Presbyterian, Catholic (1888-1917), Methodist and Anglican churches and a Church of Christ (1892).
In 1903 Lillimur was described in the Australian handbook:
By then, Lillimur South (the first Lillimur) was deserted by its tradespeople and storekeepers.
In 1930 the Victorian municipal directory recorded Lillimur as having a hotel, a store, a blacksmith, four churches, the school and the mechanics’ institute. The description survived into the postwar years, with the addition of two lodges. In 1953 the school was closed and by 1970 the hotel was gone. The silo (1939) was added to by additional grain storages, and they had a combined capacity of 14,800 tonnes in 1980.
Lillimur’s census populations have been:
L.J. Blake, Tattyara: a history of Kaniva district, Shire of Kaniva, 1981
T.M. Landt, The story of the Kaniva district 1845-1961, the author, 1961