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Kaniva is located in Shire of West Wimmera
Coordinates36°22′0″S 141°14′0″E / 36.36667°S 141.23333°E / -36.36667; 141.23333Coordinates: 36°22′0″S 141°14′0″E / 36.36667°S 141.23333°E / -36.36667; 141.23333
Population803 (2016 census)[1]
LGA(s)Shire of West Wimmera
State electorate(s)Lowan
Federal Division(s)Mallee

Kaniva is a town in Victoria, Australia. It is located on the Western Highway, north of Little Desert National Park, in the Shire of West Wimmera local government area. It is located roughly 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of the South Australian border and 43 kilometres (27 mi) east of Bordertown. At the 2016 census, Kaniva had a population of 803. The town is commonly used as a rest point for those travelling to Adelaide. The Kaniva region has some rare flora and fauna. The rare south-eastern red-tailed black cockatoo is found in the region. The Shire of West Wimmera prohibits the felling of dead trees to ensure that they have adequate nesting sites.


Kaniva's economy is heavily based on agriculture. According to the 2006 Census 31 percent of employed people are engaged in the sheep, cattle and grain farming industry.[2] The wool industry is celebrated with Kaniva's 'sheep art'; statues along the main street painted by local community groups.

When the local fuel station was threatened with closure the local community decided that they couldn’t afford to lose it. The nearest fuel station, located in Nhill, is an 80 kilometres (50 mi) round trip. In 2004 the Kaniva Community Co-operative was formed and a decision was made to raise the money, over A$400 000 to buy the business.[3] The Kaniva Community Roadhouse, colloquially known as ‘Wimpy’, is today a valued community asset.


Squatter Heighway Jones of South Australia discovered the country around Kaniva in 1845. He claims to have had sheep grazing here by 1846 and the Tattyara run was gazetted in 1851. The homestead was only a few kilometres from the present townsite. Tattyara was named after the Tyatyalla Aborigines who inhabited the district.[4] The post office opened on 1 December 1881 as Budjik and was renamed Kaniva in 1882.[5] The origin of the name are uncertain. It may derive from Kinninvie in Durham, England, or from Cniva, a 3rd-century Gothic chieftain who began the invasion of the Roman Empire, or from an Aboriginal word. Kaniva Railway Station was constructed by Cashin & Turner, to the design of the Victorian Railways Department Architecture Branch, on the Dimboola-Serviceton line in 1887.[6]


The Kaniva Agricultural and Pastoral Society run a show every October. The event is currently in its 128 year. The Kaniva Show is extremely well supported by the local community.[7] The town holds an annual street Christmas party. The Western Highway is closed for two hours while the local people shop and socialise, generally celebrating the season, and children have a giant water fight.

Notable people[edit]

Current coach of the Hawthorn Football Club, Alastair Clarkson, is from Kaniva. Roger Merrett also hails from kaniva

Illustrator Percy Leason was born and raised in Kaniva. His 'Wiregrass' cartoons are based on a Kaniva-like hamlet.[8] The Kaniva College yearbook is called 'Wiregrass' in his honour.

Artist Marcus Wills, winner of the 2006 Archibald Prize, was born & raised in Kaniva.[9]


The town has an Australian Rules football team Kaniva-Leeor competing in the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League.[10] Kaniva-Leeor United formed following the 1997 merger between Kaniva and Leeor and includes players from the Kaniva-Serviceton area. The team, called the Cougars, wear royal blue, green and white.

Kaniva's hockey teams are part of the Wimmera Hockey Association. They wear blue and white uniforms. The men's team is known as the Cobras and juniors as the Raiders.

Golfers play at the course of the Kaniva Golf Club on Miram Dryweather Road.[11]

Kaniva has four cricket teams: juniors, C, B and A Grade. The Kaniva C Grade won 2010 and 2011 cricket premiership.[12]


Kaniva has one school, Kaniva College, which teaches prep to Year 12 and has a current enrollement of around 230 students.[13] Students come from the Kaniva township and as far away as Telopea Downs and Yanac. The first school opened in Kaniva in 1883, with a high school opening in 1963. The primary and secondary school's amalgamated in 2002 forming Kaniva College. 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of Kaniva High School (currently known as Kaniva College) and a celebration was held in mid-September.[14]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Kaniva (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 3 July 2012. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics, Kaniva, retrieved 7 July 2012
  3. ^ Melissa Marino, A small town hangs on to its lifeline, retrieved 24 December 2012
  4. ^ Kaniva, Kaniva History, retrieved 7 July 2012
  5. ^ Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
  6. ^ Australian Heritage Places Inventory, Kaniva Railway Station, retrieved 7 July 2012
  7. ^ Kaniva Visitor Information, Kaniva Show, retrieved 11 October 2012
  8. ^ Biography - Percy Alexander Leason, retrieved 7 July 2012
  9. ^ http://www.australiangalleries.com.au/artists/9-artists/177-marcuswills
  10. ^ Full Points Footy, Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara, retrieved 25 July 2008
  11. ^ Golf Select, Kaniva, retrieved 11 May 2009
  12. ^ Wimmera Shire, Kaniva Cricket, retrieved 11 July 2009
  13. ^ My School, Kaniva College, retrieved 4 April 2012
  14. ^ Kaniva College, 50 Year Reunion, retrieved 8 July 2013

External links[edit]

Media related to Kaniva at Wikimedia Commons