A lone Drooping Sheoak Allocasuarina verticillata stands in the churchyard next door. This morning a small flock of Crimson Rosellas flew into the sheoak before dropping to the ground to feed on the fallen seeds of summer grasses. While this sheoak was thoughtfully planted there is a fair chance that if we could wind the clock back 200 years a few of its ancestors would have been growing happily in this same spot on the ridge overlooking the Loddon.
The parish plan shown below (dated 1856) has a few notations describing the vegetation on the plains west of Newstead. If you click on the image you’ll see ‘honeysuckles’ are noted on the lot north of the road to Carisbrook – this is a reference to Silver Banksia Banksia marginata, no longer present in the district. Keeping the banksia company back then would have been many Drooping Sheoaks, Buloke and a rich array of plains flora. We are fortunate that at least a few sheoaks remain today, scattered through the box-ironbark country around Newstead.