AGH Vol. 35 No. 2 October 2023


Urbanised nature: contextualising an apartment garden in Potts Point, Sydney       Ben Hardy-Clements
Sandringham is a narrow, six-storey, inter-war apartment block built in face brick with a flat roof in Potts Point, NSW. The apartments were enhanced by their proximity to an almost 7 m-wide-corridor courtyard garden, which remain to this day. It may have been neglected and modified but it is, nevertheless, an evocative fragment of Australian garden history.

‘She always wore a skirt’: the gardens of Elsie Cornish        Louise Bird
South Australian garden designer Elsie Marion Cornish, who starting her career at the age of 46, initially worked as a jobbing gardener before taking on commissions to design gardens for some of Adelaide’s most well-known members of society. She was also responsible for the vibrant carpets of summer colour that were a notable feature of the University of Adelaide grounds in the inter-war period. Largely still an enigma, this remarkable woman is South Australia’s first professional woman landscape designer.

State prohibited weed and treasured memory: the Stockton thorn tree        Kate Senior
On a place called the ballast grounds in the Newcastle suburb of Stockton, NSW, is a bench with a curious inscription – ‘Acacia Karoo: this is the site of the 100-year-old thorn tree of great significance to the people of Stockton’ – erected by the Stockton Historical Society. There are many beautiful views across the Hunter River to the city of Newcastle, with its historic buildings and towering cathedral, but the view from this bench is not among them. The bench is positioned to provide the person resting on it a view of massive industry, with its chimneys belching smoke and steam and behind this, towering mounds of coal.

Ferdinand Mueller’s unfulfilled quest: early attempts to introduce Verticordia oculata to horticulture        John Dowe
Verticordia oculata is a very attractive shrub from Western Australia. Baron Ferdinand von Mueller put great effort into attempting to obtain, propagate and distribute the species, which he considered Australia’s most beautiful flower. Unfortunately, he did not succeed.

The Glastonbury thorn: set in stone        Tim Gatehouse
Nostalgia prompted many early settlers to introduce plants from their homeland into a new environment on the other side of the world. An unusual manifestation of this desire is a stone carving of the flower of the common hawthorn, Cratageus monogyna, built into the wall of the porte cochere (carriage porch) at Avalon homestead overlooking Corio Bay near Geelong, Vic.

Tribute: Jillian Oppenheimer OAM

For the bookshelf: No Stone Without a Name by Phillippa O’Brien   Reviewed by Bronwen and Greg Keighery
No Stone Without a Name begins with an outline of the land and the First Peoples of the west of Australia. It then largely considers how the European colonialists of south-western Australia saw themselves, the land and the original Australians.

For the bookshelf: England’s Gardens – A Modern History by Stephen Parker   Review by Anne Claoue-Long
The polished authoritative text and mix of black and white historic photographs alongside full colour images, interspersed with artistic representation of gardens makes for an engaging and satisfying presentation to keep readers turning the pages for more.

Advocacy: the Melbourne General Cemetery        John Dwyer
The Melbourne General Cemetery is a significant cultural landscape of historical, social, aesthetic, architectural and scientific importance. Included on the Victorian Heritage Register, the Statement of Significance describes it as ‘one of Melbourne’s most visited and loved sites’, and ‘a fine example of both formal and romantic planning, styles that were popular during the mid-19th century’. Yet, today, the historical garden is not being conserved; instead, it is being replaced by the continuing program of planting native species.

Profile: The pleasure of the working bee        Michaela Hill

AGHS national oral history collection: Lindsay Campbell
Lindsay Campbell talks about his life as a gardener, a teacher of horticulture and a garden designer.


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