The Coochiemudlo Herbarium
An island treasure reaches out to a new audience.
For more than 20 years, Coochiemudlo’s Bushcare volunteers have been accumulating the wealth of local botanical knowledge that's so essential to their bush regeneration activities across the island.
In 2006, several Bushcarers began collecting examples of both native and introduced island flora, and preserving them by the traditional process of pressing out the moisture and mounting them for safe-keeping and display.
They called themselves the Press Gang. And over five years they built up a collection of nearly 120 species, arranged on paper sheets sleeved inside large folders. Such a collection is referred to as an herbarium.
Over the next few years the Bushcare Herbarium “travelled around a bit” to quote the Press Gang’s Mary Preston ....
“We wanted the Herbarium to be safe so I took it to the (Queensland) Herbarium at the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane. We were proud of the quality of our work compared with theirs. They said that it should be kept on the Island as that made it more relevant – TRUE!
We offered it to Redlands Museum but they didn't really have a relevant place to display it. It was taken to Indigiscapes, where an officer offered to put it on a disc but he got transferred. When I called in to see how it was going after several months, it seemed to be lost but was found buried at the back of a shed.
So I rescued it and brought it home. As you can imagine I was thrilled when the Heritage Society offered to look after it.”
That offer was made in 2019. The Heritage Society has now decided this wonderful resource will be the basis of a virtual Coochiemudlo Herbarium — an online educational resource that will showcase the diverse flora of our island and its bayside precinct.
The entire collection has now been digitised. In the process, we discovered that the plants could be photographed in ways that revealed the colours and textures preserved by the drying process. We have now printed and framed a selection of about 40 fine art images.
They'll be exhibited at the herbarium launch on Friday 18th March, at the Community Hall, from 4.45pm. The exhibition will be open on the Saturday and Sunday from 9.00am - 3.00pm.
If you'd like to come to the exhibition launch, please RSVP (for catering) by March 11th to email@example.com.
In the meantime, here are just a few of the many images that will be on display. The Bushcare volunteer who collected, identified and mounted each specimen is named beneath the image.
Featured samples from the herbarium collection