Discover Bendigo

Harvesting the crops
James Lerk
Mention has been made about the many different varieties of fruit and vegetables that were grown by Herbert Keck on a commercial basis. Keck grew melons in profusion as he did the Turk Caps or squashes, however the pumpkins were only for weightlifters to harvest as most weighed in at over 30..
27-Jul-2017
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Keck's original
James Lerk
Early in June when I began writing about Herbert Keck, I mentioned that he had at least one plant that bore his name. This plant was “Keck’s Special”, a camellia so named because it had been bred by Herbert Keck himself. The camellia originates from Southern China and has b..
20-Jul-2017
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Both sides of the law
James Lerk
Self sufficiency was something that many people who possessed some land attempted to achieve, particularly in the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries. There were the chooks for both eggs and meat, a goat or cow that could be milked, the vegetable plot and fruit trees. Neighbour..
13-Jul-2017
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Creating a public profile
James Lerk
Soil improvement was seen by Herbert Keck as the way to make the land he owned much more productive. He was to grow an immense variety of edible plants as well as those that could be best described as decorative or utilitarian. Among the edible plants were his table grapes, varieties in..
07-Jul-2017
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The fruits of labour
James Lerk
Herbert Keck was determined to improve his soil quality. As indicated, he had offered to take the night soil from the Bendigo City Council which had contracted the collection and delivery of same to another party. Soil improvement had been high on Keck’s agenda and to this end he ..
29-Jun-2017
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An inspector calls
James Lerk
Herbert Keck, a trained stonemason, had bought land at Spring Gully near the foot of One Tree Hill. The area was described as no man’s land, worn into ruts, re-forested and the only memento of cultivation was some gorse and briars. Keck had made an offer to the Bendigo City Council to..
23-Jun-2017
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Striking out on his own
James Lerk
Last week I began a story around the Keck family and Herbert their son. Herbert had six siblings all told, he being about in the middle of the family. Some siblings had been born in England while Herbert was the first in the family to be born in Bendigo in January 1859. Herbert started his w..
15-Jun-2017
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Distinguished pedigree
James Lerk
My next subject is Herbert Keck who was to make a significant contribution to the horticultural development of not only Bendigo but a greater area to the north and beyond. He should be remembered for his immense contribution to the wider community. Apart from Keck’s orchard, his v..
09-Jun-2017
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A gardening couple
James Lerk
It is unfortunate that little is recorded of the activities of women in respect of being active gardeners in the past. Yet in the 19th and early 20th century there were many Bendigo women involved in this satisfying activity. Last week I mentioned Myrtle E Dawson nee Loy, who was most likely..
01-Jun-2017
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A hard life lived
James Lerk
Last week I featured the ordinary but useful garden of the Cook family from Spring Gully. To say that the family had lived off the smell of an oily rag at the end of the 19th century would not be overstating their circumstances. The Spring Gully house was built on a miners right claim, ..
26-May-2017
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A garden of necessity
James Lerk
The large or elaborate garden is often associated with the well to do which is in direct contrast to those in less fortunate financial circumstances. There is a great challenge in finding out details of gardens which were cultivated by the ordinary members of society in the period of the lat..
19-May-2017
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Dawson and Gill's garden
James Lerk
SO diverse was the cactus collection of Dawson and Gill’s cactus garden that at its peak it was considered to be the best and most extensive in Australia. Their sales catalogue listed over 2000 species of plants, some of which were exceptionally rare. Little wonder that orders for ..
12-May-2017
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White Hills wonders
James Lerk
Dawson and Gill’s Cactus Gardens and nursery was and still is situated in Napier Street, White Hills not far from the Botanical Gardens. Thomas Henry Dawson was born at Wodonga in 1902 and passed away at White Hills on September 7, 1986. Dawson had lived in Roh’s Roa..
05-May-2017
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Cacti in high demand
James Lerk
Cacti, like many plants, can come and go out of fashion, with climate change they will undoubtedly see a resurgence in popularity. It was pointed out last week that most cacti come from the Americas. In the late 18th century a number of species of cacti had already been imported to Australia..
28-Apr-2017
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A prickly subject
James Lerk
Having written of Hyde’s Pleasure Garden adjacent to the First White Hill, I will now turn to a still existing garden, just beyond, and north of the Seventh White Hill which was established by Dawson and Gill. When travelling on the Northern Highway along Napier Street on the w..
21-Apr-2017
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Sad end in Hyde’s dam
James Lerk
Previously I have recorded the fact that a portion of William Hyde’s Pleasure Garden had been given over as a water feature in the form of dams. At least one dam was within the confines of the garden while another was immediately adjacent. Cultivation of suitable species o..
13-Apr-2017
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Horticultural matters
James Lerk
Thus far I have covered a number of people who had some of our early attractive gardens. Alexander Bayne grew some beautiful roses as did George Wells, however the blooms which were supposedly the best were grown in the publicly accessible pleasure garden of William Hyde. Some writers ..
06-Apr-2017
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Activity in the area
James Lerk
In one of my articles a few weeks ago, I mentioned that William Hyde, the instigator of Hyde’s garden at the First White Hill, held a continuing interest in mining activity. To the north east of Hyde’s garden was some ground that had been abandoned by the miners who had been acti..
30-Mar-2017
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All about variety
James Lerk
IF you have been following the stories so far about William Hyde’s garden you could not have failed to notice that to this point I have mentioned the numerous exotics that he cultivated. Among the plethora of plants grown by Hyde was the Mediterranean chamaerops palm which attracted co..
23-Mar-2017
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Hyde's pleasure garden
James Lerk
With many visitors enjoying William Hyde’s garden, located as it was on the southern side of the First White Hill, we learn from reporter’s writings what types of plants were to be seen. What attracted the most attention were Hyde’s roses. Early one autumn Hyde’s gard..
16-Mar-2017
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