The Ravensthorpe Regional Herbarium, situated in Morgans Street, Ravensthorpe

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Ravensthorpe Regional Herbarium

The West Australian Herbarium initiated a Regional Herbaria Programme in 1997, and the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show Committee were invited to participate.   We set out with the lofty aim of collecting every flowering plant in the Shire of Ravensthorpe. As the shire comprises 13,553 square kilometres, needless to say there is still a long way to go, and collecting new different species gets more difficult as our collection grows.  There are currently about 3000 specimens in the herbarium – some of them duplicates.

Being in partnership with the W.A. Herbarium is the only way a collection such as ours obtains credibility.  This results from the fact that the volunteers collect two specimens along with the necessary data, and when pressed, one specimen is forwarded to the W.A. Herbarium.  There it is identified and data-based with the result being sent back to us, giving our specimens the necessary provenance.  Our specimens are mounted and filed in families. 

The Herbarium has benefited from the donation of specimens collected by local botanists during flora surveys, and also by being asked to house the Ken Newby collection, which was previously held at Twertup in the Fitzgerald River National Park.

All the work is performed by volunteers.   Donations of ¼ of the annual rent from the Ravensthorpe Shire Council and from the Ravensthorpe Agricultural Initiative Network assist in the funding.  A group of ‘Friends of the Herbarium’ donate $10.00 each annually, and proceeds of the sale of the book ‘Native Plants of the Ravensthorpe Region’ are also put towards the cost of running the herbarium.

Grants and donations have enabled the group to acquire a microscope, computer, and a number of reference books to assist us in identifying specimens.  In the past few years Ravensthorpe Nickel Operations, Traka Resources, and Tectonic Resources have all contributed towards specific items such as the plan horse or shelving.

Anyone interested in joining us in this project is very welcome – none of us started off with other than the most basic of knowledge about plants, so the main requirement is enthusiasm. Contact merleb@wn.com.au