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Grave Invaders

Old Adaminaby Cemetery in the NSW High Country


No Peace for Mountain Pioneers in Their Graves

The remains of our mountain pioneers are being disturbed by burrowing wombats at the Old Adaminaby Cemetery in the New South Wales (NSW) High Country. Wombats are making some of the graves their home. These grave invaders weighing between 30 and 40 kilograms, bear-like in appearance with four stumpy legs are not the sort of squatters the old pioneers in these graves knew.

While snooping around the old cemetery looking for the final resting place of the young bush horseman people claim to be the ‘real’ Man from Snowy River I nearly slipped into a wombat hole that was not in “hidden ground”* but “any slip could be death”**, or let’s say close to death.

A Wisdom of Wombats

A group of wombats is called a “Wisdom of Wombats” so, in their wisdom these Old Adaminaby wombats have decided that the hallowed cemetery ground is a safe, secure and peaceful haven for their 30 metre long burrows. Not so peaceful however for the long standing permanent residents. Wombats are today giving new meaning to the ‘digging up’ of local history.





Nice Place for a Cemetery

The location was well chosen by the early settlers.  On a hill and now overlooking Lake Eucumbene, the cemetery is five metres above the high watermark and was never in danger of being flooded in 1957 when the Eucumbene River was dammed and the Lake created as part of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectricity Scheme.  The old cemetery in Jindabyne wasn’t so fortunate.  When the Snowy River was dammed creating Lake Jindabyne as part of the Snowy Scheme it was necessary to disinter and relocate the occupants to a new resting place.

Old Adaminaby Cemetery overlooks Lake Eucumbene

The peace of the Old Adaminaby Cemetery inhabitants may not have been threatened by water in 1957 but it’s threatened by wombats today.

Cute and Cuddly?

Beware. Wombats might look cute and cuddly but they have rat-like teeth and powerful digging claws. They can also charge and run at 40 kilometres per hour over a short distance.(https://www.wildlifevictoria.org.au/images/fact-sheets/21%20-%20Wombats.pdf)

The Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_wombat

Is It A Ghost?

If you ever wander about the Old Adaminaby Cemetery at night and hear a growl, a hoarse cough, a grunt or a low groan, it won’t be the ghost of a wild bush horseman but the sound of a resident wombat.

The Man from Snowy River?

I did find the grave I was looking for and that will be my next story.

3 October 2019

* words from ‘The ‘Man From Snowy River’ by A. B. “Banjo” Paterson (1890)

** ibid

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