Chinese Burning Towers

A quiet day.

_17C7312Francine had a hankering to visit Beechworth cemetery, where the main attraction seems to be a pair of Chinese Burning Towers. We were accosted by a local who wondered if we had “any rellies” buried in there. “No, just visiting”, we replied. Our new friend was retired but was engaged in research in the cemetery. The cemetery is divided into areas for the many different denominations represented. There are some 2000 Chinese settlers buried here. After a five or ten minute chat, our pal turned us loose and pointed towards the Chinese section where the Burning Towers were located.

_17C7310We found The Chinese Burning Towers easily; they are pretty hard to miss. They date from 1857 and were used for burning paper prayers’’. Meals for the spirits of the dead were provided on the altar (1883) behind the towers . We wandered up through the Chinese section where all the headstones were inscribed with Chinese characters, indecipherable to us despite our recent 3-day stopover in Hong Kong. 😀

_17C7313Our new friend reappeared as we were nearing the top of the Chinese section. There was a bit more chat before he keenly pointed out the gravestone of the last Chinese to be buried in the cemetery. It was unusual; one might say unique. It reads:

AH YETT Died at Reeds Creek 31st July 1932

What was unusual? The inscription on this gravestone was written in English. “Do you know why it was written in English?”, asked our new pal. “Being the last Chinese buried, there was no one left who could write Chinese script.” He uses that when he’s talking to school kids.

J17_3504 Austrolestes leda maleWe returned via another small dam in Stanley. Completely unexpectedly, this small dam yielded an additional damselfly species. Identifying it was a bit of a conundrum. It was what Francine would call “a blue-striped pyjama job”. In the UK, these are of a particular couple of genuses. I searched the Australian species in those similar genuses without success. Then I noticed a feature that made me suspect this new characters true genus. Bingo!  A Wandering Ringtail (Austrolestes leda).

Stanley itself is now my highest scoring site with six species. That was unexpected.

Posted in 2017 Australia, 2017 The Antipodes

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