And of course, there's the proprietor of the Telegraph Hotel, William Jones, who, in December 1863 had offered to repair John Heagney's stirrup before the Clare man rode to his fate in Hepburn's Lagoon.
Buried here also are gunner Albert Yelland, who was killed in action on 30 September 1917 as the Battle of Ypres raged, and 18-year-old, Private S. Coutts, who went the same way on 29 August 1916 as news of the slaughter at the Somme flooded Australia, and Howard Boustead (Ypres). Surprisingly, there is one victim of the Great War, an O'Neil, in the Eganstown Cemetery.
The Daylesford, Eganstown and Mount Prospect burial grounds mirror the social and political patterns of colonial Victoria. Collectively they tell a tale of optimism and hope against the spectre of unmerciful fate. The larger Creswick Cemetery adds the final chapter of the tale, for it catalogues the transition of the region from farming and independent mining, to large-scale capitalist mining. In 1882 the Australasia No. 2 mine collapsed drowning 22 miners whose deaths are commemorated by a large, sombre stone, centre-place in the Cemetery.
In 1982, eighty-five-year-old Harry Pearce described the Australasia No. 2 disaster as a story of 'greed for gold, sacrifice of human life, incompetence, ignorance, personal ambition, heroism, drama and tragedy'. Michael Carmody, who was 20 when he warned his mates of the impending disaster, said 'they should never have drowned'.
These were political times and the Miners' Union took a sophisticated line on the social relations of production. When the inquest declared that the flood was a result of 'an error of judgment which was such as might have been committed by any mine manager' the locals were outraged.
The inscription 'Dr George Roche - A native of Cork - Died 24th January 1881 - Aged 51 - A true and warm hearted friend - A genial companion beloved by the poor - [His death is] Regretted by all who knew him .....' on a plain, unpretentious stone in the Catholic section of the Creswick Cemetery is a poignant reminder of the status afforded parish priests and local doctors in the old days.
There are bigger, more famous cemeteries, Beechworth for example, than Daylesford, Eganstown, Mount Prospect and Creswick. Not one can lay claim to being the last resting place for such a diverse array of immigrant and Currency children. When I wander through them, I hear a chorus of voices, Irish and English, Scottish, Italian, German and Gaelic, and the sound of pick and shovel.
An oasis of concrete and weathered iron in a sea of green, tilled soil, there's nothing better than a Daylesford Cemetery for those desperate to escape the suffocating saccharine monoculture that, as the year 2000 approaches, threatens to destroy our sense of place and history. Phil Cleary