AN age-old bush cemetery situated just a few hundred metres from Hartley's Collits Inn, is the resting place of around 100 people.
The Historic Hartley Vale Cemetery was the well-known Collits' family plot. Early settlers in the Field's and Morris' families are also buried at the cemetery with its earliest known graves dating back to the 1800s.
But, there could be more.
Forgotten graves are a said possibility due to the age of the site and being overgrown, affected by bushfires, vandalism and the lack of headstones and name plaques.
Fortunately Hartley Vale and Mount Blaxland land managers recently received a $16,000 grant to fund an underground archaeological survey of the site.
The funding comes under the Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal's (FRRR) Strengthening Rural Communities Program.
Hartley Vale and Mount Blaxland land managers chairperson David Hirsch said the funding would allow for Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) of the cemetery.
"It is hoped the data obtained from the survey will expose any presently unknown graves," he said.
He said he was delighted at the prospect of GPR unearthing more of the history and heritage of Hartley.
The GPR will be conducted by Stedinger Associated, a well-respected company in the field of forensic archaeology, according to Mr Hirsch.
"Stedinger will make use of their varied specialist tools including a drone and GPR in order to determine any possible unknown grave sites," he said.
Dr Louise Steding said on behalf of Stedinger Associates, they were excited to be involved in such a project. Their findings will eventually be presented at a community event.
The FRRR funding comes on top of other funding the land managers have secured to repair damage caused from the 2019 bushfires.
Fencing and signage are being replaced and new and improved picnic facilities will be built.
The archaeological survey is set to be completed by the end of 2021.
Mr Hirsch thanked treasurer Hugh Gould for his work in applying for the grant and encouraged community members interested in the upkeep and restoration of the Hartley Cemetery, to contact secretary Frances Leighton on 0405 634 229.