Caring for the Ancestors: Wallaga Lake

Project: Caring for the Ancestors: Wallaga Lake Cemetery

Start Date: June 2014

Completion Date: December 2015

Cost: Total project cost $93,926 (Fully funded from Commonwealth Indigenous Heritage Grant)


The Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Cemetery is one of the oldest and largest in New South Wales.

Eurobodalla Shire Council is working with Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council to preserve this cemetery.

Together we secured funding from the Commonwealth Indigenous Heritage Program to identify, mark and conserve the burial sites and make a plan of management for future use.

This project was awarded the Cultural Heritage Award at the 2015 Keep Australia Beautiful Blue Star Sustainability Awards.

It involved:

  • Stage 1: Identify unknown graves and collate historical data through research and consultation. with community, government and non government organisations and businesses.
  • Stage 2: Undertake ground penetration survey radar work to identify unseen grave sites.
  • Stage 3: Develop a detailed burial register and allocate grave numbers to burial sites.
  • Stage 4: Install grave number markers beside each grave.
  • Stage 5:  Develop a plan of management for ongoing cemetery maintenance and record keeping.
  • Stage 6: Develop a landscape plan of the cemetery which protects known graves and identifies safe areas for future burials.

This short film by Dakota Feirer captures some of the community's and Council's efforts toward redeveloping the cemetery and the important traditional role the cemetery plays.