Last week’s query from a prairie conservationist in Nebraska has been solved. Bendigo’s lost cemetery has been found – somewhere else! Not surprisingly, the discovery wasn’t made by a plant ecologist or naturalist, but by a more regular denizen of graveyards – a genealogist.
Carol J, who hosts a comprehensive web site on cemeteries and headstones, identified Glenn’s photo as being from the Eganstown Roman Catholic Cemetery west of Daylesford – which is ‘close’ to Bendigo, but far enough away to deepen the mystery. Carol kindly provided the following photo which matches Glenn’s original. Reddish-brown Themeda tussocks (Kangaroos Grass) can be seen between the graves in both photos.
Believe it or not, Eganstown cemetery also features on YouTube, in a short clip in which ex-Member of Parliament, Phil Cleary chats about his Irish ancestors (the web truly is an amazing place).
From a conservation point of view, cemetery web sites provide a fast way to identify places that may contain high-quality remnant vegetation and endangered plants. The photos below from Carol’s web site show high-quality remnant vegetation at Amherst Cemetery, south of Maryborough in western Victoria, and Mitiamo cemetery, beside Terrick Terrick National Park in northern Victoria. I’ve never been to Amherst, but Mitiamo Cemetery is a great spot.
I haven’t heard of any rare plants at Amherst or Eganstown cemeteries, so if anyone knows of anything interesting, please leave a comment below.
From Nebraska to Mitiamo, ecology to genealogy, in two short steps. Nothing beats the world wide web for demonstrating the power of ‘inter-disciplinary research’.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Helen, Carol and everyone else who enthusiastically joined in the search.
Next week’s blog: back to plants again – on sand, shrubs and weeds.