Saturday, 18 September 2021

The Narre Warren Cool Store

In 1891, William Bailey purchased 50 acres of land at Narre Warren, and began planting out his orchard, which was the first commercial orchard in the area (1). Other orchards soon followed as Narre Warren was considered to be a very suitable area for orchards. The Australasian in April 1919 reported on the advantages of fruit growing in the area -

The orchards and areas available for planting are within comparatively short distance from the railway station, where a central packing shed is in operation; the district is but 22 miles from Melbourne; the climate and soil are well suited for apple and pear culture, and, in addition, the district is settled by progressive fruit growers, who have an intimate knowledge of most matters affecting fruit production. When a district is within comparatively easy reach of the metropolis it has an enhanced value that, while difficult to estimate on an acreage basis, is nevertheless considerable.

In the first case it means that the cost of delivering produce on the market, an ever-recurring expenditure, is far less than that incurred by the up-country grower, and this same question of freight expenditure applies to everything that is purchased for use on the orchard; implements, spraying materials, manures, wrapping paper, cases, and numerous other items that must be obtained from the city, and this also applies to the initial costs connected with settlement. Then, too growers may, if they so choose, put their fruit on rail overnight, and travel to Melbourne by the evening train to sell their own produce. Several hundred acres now planted with fruit trees are within three miles of the local station and packing shed, served by a good level road, and this means easy haulage and expeditious handling of the crop during the height of the season. The co-operative fruit packing shed has been in operation over three seasons, and already there has been some talk of establishing cool stores so that the fruit may be held over for late season marketing (2).

The article also had profiles on local fruit growers including James Bailey, President of the Victorian Fruit Growers' Association (and son of William Bailey). James had 68 acres planted out in fruit trees - 34 acres of apples, 30 acres of peaches and 4 acres of pears (3).

Narre Warren Cool Store

In the endeavour to establish a Cool Store at Narre Warren, the Narre Warren Orchardists' Co-operative Cool Stores Co., was formed in 1923, with James Bailey as Chairman of Directors (4). Mr Bailey was the driving force behind the Cool Store as The Australasian reported - Although possessing a cool store of his own, sufficient for the requirements of his orchard, he has been the dominating figure in bringing about the erection of the new chambers (5).

The method of financing the construction of the Cool Store was reported in The Age newspaper - a first call of 6d. per share was made, which enabled the company to purchase the land. Later the share holders contributed 3/10 per 10/ share, making a total amount of £1700, and £2400 having been advanced by the State Savings Bank, the erection of the store was commenced. They had sufficient machinery to run a store of double the capacity, so that any additions would cost considerably less (6).

Aerial of Narre Warren - taken January 20, 1974. The Cool Store, which is opposite the Narre Warren Railway Station, is circled. The Railway Station moved from original location (west of Webb Street) to it's current location (east of Webb Street) in 1995. 
Image: Casey Cardinia Libraries.

The Cool Store at Narre Warren, built on an acre of land near the Railway Station (7) was officially opened on Saturday, March 7, 1925 by the State Minister for Agriculture, Murray Bourchier (8), who congratulated the share-holders on their enterprise and co-operation, and said he felt honored at being invited to start the machinery working (9).

Narre Warren Cool Store

The benefit to the area of having a Cool Store was explained in The Australasian newspaper - Owing to the demand for Jonathan apples for export, and also because this variety may usually be profitably disposed of within three or four months of harvesting, the cool chambers will be utilised mainly for the storage of the Yates and Rome Beauty kinds which are among the best storing varieties of apples grown. In the past many of the growers have been obliged to part with the bulk of their crops at prices which purchasers considered would leave them a margin of profit after paying storage expenses. With the local stores in operation there is the prospect that much of the fruit will return a more lucrative price to those who hold it until late in the season (10).

The Cool Store was designed to hold 10,000 cases of apples, but provision had been made to add two extra chambers if required. These chambers, each holding 3,000 cases were added in early 1928 (11). 

As with all primary production, some years were better than other and 1933 was a record year for fruit export in the Narre Warren area - Approximately 51,000 cases of fruit - 5000 cases of pears and the remainder apples - were exported from Narre Warren this season. In addition, 8000 cases were sold on the Melbourne and inter-State markets, and it is expected that a further 23,000 cases will be held in cool storage for the late markets. The quantity of fruit exported constitutes a record for the district. Last year two new cool stores were erected by individual orchardists, making four stores for the district (12).

One of these two Cool Stores was erected by Robert Haysey, which held 80,000 cases (13). An unusual cool room was built in 1932 by Arthur Robinson, on his Hillsley property, at Narre Warren North. The Dandenong Journal reported on the construction - a store had been built of bluestone boulders, some of which weigh over one ton; it was cut into the side of the hill, and the walls are built of the huge stones, which were after wards cemented. Mr. Robinson is of opinion he will be able to store many thousands of cases for a considerable period, and that they will keep equally as well as in a cool chamber (14).

Arthur Robinson's bluestone cool storage shed built on his Hillsley property in 1932.
Image: Oak Trees and Hedges: a pictorial history of Narre Warren, Narre Warren North and Harkaway (Berwick Pakenham Historical Society, 2002)

The Narre Warren Cool Store wasn't the first one built in the district. As we saw James Bailey already had one on his property, however as early as 1908 Captain Jones installed a cooling plant in his packing shed at Narre Warren, you can read about it here. Captain David Jones (15) of the Victorian Stevedoring Company had purchased 560 acres of land in Narre Warren around 1898 and established a large orchard (16). Captain Jones' property was called Tan-y-dderwen, which means "Under the oak" in Welsh (17). After his death in 1926, his son Thomas Evan Jones (18) took over the property - Tandderwen Court and Tom Jones Court in Narre Warren North are named after him.

The Cool-Air machine and oil engine driving it - photographed on Captain Jones' Narre Warren property, in 1908.

I do not know when the Narre Warren Cool Store ceased operation, but in February 1953 the Crossley Engine was advertised for sale by tender.

Tender for sale of the Narre Warren Cool Store engine

The Cool Store was demolished in the late 1970s or early 1980s. 

The Narre Warren Cool Store in the process of being demolished.
Some of the cars in this photo have been dated - a 1977 Torana Sunbird, a post 1978 Datsun 200B and possibly a 1977 Corolla and the green car in the centre is a HG Monaro. These identifications date this photo to at least the late 1970s.
Image: Casey Cardinia Libraries.

Thank you to Tracy Howard, one of our Librarians here at Casey Cardinia Libraries, and her friends, for helping to identify the location of the Cool Store in the 1974 aerial, shown above.

Trove List
I have created a list of articles on Trove, connected to the Narre Warren Cool Store, access it here.

(2) The Australasian, April 26, 1919, see here.
(3) The Australasian, April 26, 1919, see here.
(4) The Age, March 9, 1925, see here.
(5) The Australasian, January 24, 1925, see here.
(6) The Age, March 9, 1925, see here.
(7) The Argus, August 17, 1923, see here.
(8) Murray Bourchier, read his Australian Dictionary of Biography entry, here
(9) The Age, March 9, 1925, see here.
(10) The Australasian, January 24, 1925, see here.
(11) Weekly Times, August 21, 1926, see here and Dandenong Journal, April 5, 1928, see here.
(12) The Age, May 23, 1933, see here.
(13) Dandenong Journal, January 26, 1933, see here.
(14) Dandenong Journal, January 26, 1933, see here.
(15) Captain David Jones, read his obituary in The Age, December 28, 1926, here.
(16) Weekly Times, December 26, 1908, see here.
(17) Weekly Times, December 26, 1908, see here.
(18) The following information comes from family notices in newspapers and Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia District - Thomas Evan Jones (1898-1964) married Margaret Alice Asling in 1921. Margaret, born 1897, died July 15, 1925 at Tandderwen, at the age of 28. She left behind a son, Evan David, who had been born on March 18, 1922.  Margaret was the daughter of Edward and Elizabeth (nee Meade) Asling, of Narre Warren North. 
Tom Jones remarried in 1928 to Alice Asling. Alice Asling was the half sister of Edward and thus an aunt of Margaret.
Edward Asling (1869-1961) was the son of George Asling (1846-1934) and Margaret Neville (1839-1874). After Margaret Neville died in February 1874, George married Sarah Martha Webb (c. 1854-1923) in December 1874 and one of their children was Alice (1889-1972) who became the second Mrs Jones. Sarah Martha Webb was the sister of Sidney Webb of Holly Green, Narre Warren.

Friday, 3 September 2021

Mr Nutting 'invents' a new type of Ute

 The Argus of October 13, 1936 published the following article

A NEW TYPE OF COUPE UTILITY Victorian's Invention
An interesting variation of the coupe utility type of coachwork has been invented in Victoria. It gives all the goods carrying facilities of the usual type, but the tray can be converted to a lorry type in 
a few seconds, or can be folded so that the vehicle is indistinguishable from an ordinary private coupe car. Last week Mr. A. C. Nutting, the proprietor of general stores at Garfield and Catani, who was largely responsible for the design, demonstrated a vehicle built to his specifications to General Motors-Holden's Ltd., who have expressed considerable interest in it. 

Mr. Nutting has used the vehicle for some time in his business, and claims that it has several advantages over the usual coupe utility. For example, it can protect bulky loads from the weather; it can be adjusted to take long articles which extend over the rear of the vehicle; and when folded down does not possess the appearance of a commercial vehicle, and, consequently, does not look out of place for social use.

The construction is simple. The boot cover, which is substantially built, is hinged in two places, so that when unfolded half of it forms an extension to the floor of the boot and the other half forms the rear flap of the goods tray. On this rear flap the two side pieces are hinged. Mr. Nutting's car is a Ford Ten, and the floor space for goods obtained with his patented coachwork is about 5ft. 3in. by 4ft. It is believed that a rather similar type of coachwork has been developed with considerable success in America

This is the image which accompanied the article. The caption reads - Above, as a coupe. In the centre, opened for carrying goods which may extend over the rear platform. Below, as a utility with bows in place for covering in wet weather.

I don't believe Mr Nutting's design went into full production, but it was an innovative solution which allowed him to carry out deliveries in a motor car, rather than having to purchase a truck, and this was the same rationale behind the invention of the standard Utility. There are various versions on the Internet as to how and why the Ford ute was invented - the story goes that  in 1932 or 1933  a 'farmers wife' from Gippsland wrote to the Ford Australia asking if they could produce a vehicle which could be used for going to church on Sunday and to  take the pigs to market on Monday. I have read somewhere that the farmer's wife was actually from Bunyip.  The Managing Director of Ford, Hubert French, passed the letter onto Louis Thornet Bandt of the design team and the first Ford coupe utility was built at Ford's Geelong Plant in 1934 (2). The Ford Utility thus predates Mr Nutting's 'invention' by two years, but the benefit of his design was that goods could be carried in the standard boot, or the space could be extended to take longer items and a cover could also be fitted for protection from rain. 

Who was Mr Nutting?  Arthur Clive Nutting was born in Carlton on February 19, 1896 to George and Emilie (nee Sears) Nutting. George was a tinsmith and the family lived at 70 McIlwraith Street in North Carlton (3).  On April 27, 1916 Arthur enlisted in the A.I.F. His occupation was listed as a Clerk and he was 20 years old. Arthur embarked on May 20 and after serving overseas he Returned to Australia July 23, 1919. Arthur also served in the Volunteer Defence Corps in the Second World War (4).  In April 1920, Arthur was admitted as a Licentiate of the Incorporated Institute of Accountants (5).  During the early 1920s he was employed in the Commonwealth Public Service War Service Home Commission until his resignation in November 1922 (6).

In 1923, Arthur was  married Connie Eunice Grace Smith, the daughter Andrew and Emily (nee Wildman) Smith. They had three children that I can trace - Donald George, Robert Arthur and Heather Elizabeth (7). The family lived  at 292 Riversdale Road in Auburn until 1926 when they moved to Catani to operate the General Store (8). The store had been established by Robert Bush in 1922 (9) in the newly created town on the Koo Wee Rup to Strzelecki Railway railway line. In November 1927, Arthur successfully applied to the Cranbourne Shire to install a petrol pump in front of the shop (10). He also applied at the same time to the Licensing Court for a Spirit's Merchant's and Grocer's Licence (11). I do not know if that application was successful. Whilst living at Catani the family took part in the social life of the community - in February 1927 Arthur was the Secretary of the Yannathan and Catani Picnic Race Club and the next year he was the President of the Catani Tennis Club (12).

Catani State School 1931.
Arthur and Eunice's son, Don, is fourth from left in the front row (13).
Image: Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society. 

In January 1929, the family had a narrow escape from a fire, an unusual fire, except if you are living in a town on a reclaimed Swamp, like Catani was - this is the report from The Age -  The store of Mr. Nutting, of Catani, narrowly escaped destruction by fire yesterday. The peat near the store had been burning for some days, and yesterday's high wind caused the fire to spread rapidly. Owing to the peat burning some distance under the surface, a trench had to be dug on three sides of the buildings. A large number of neighboring farmers gave valuable assistance in saving the premises. The railway buildings were also threatened at one stage (14).

In 1930, the Nuttings, who had been renting the Catani store from Robert Bush, purchased a store in Garfield, however he still continued to operate the Catani store until 1936, as far as I can tell from the Cranbourne Shire Rate books. They moved to Garfield around 1932 (15).

Arthur was a man who saw a future in motor cars, because in 1934 he applied to the Berwick Shire to have  a petrol pump installed in front of his store and this was granted (16). Once again, the family involved themselves with the community - in 1933 Arthur was elected as President of the Garfield Golf Club and he was later the Secretary; in 1935 Connie was the Secretary of the newly formed Baby Health Care Centre in Garfield and she was also the Vice President of the Mothers Club (17). 

It was in October 1936 when Arthur demonstrated a vehicle built to his specifications to General Motors-Holden's Ltd. (18) The Nuttings, as well as operating the store at Garfield also had a farm as  there are a numerous references of sales of his merino sheep in the Newmarket sales reports (19). The farm was sold in 1945 and the store was sold in 1950, but the Nuttings had already left Garfield for Black Rock in 1943, where they lived at 32 Ebden Avenue (20).

The Nuttings home after Garfield, Black Rock House.
Black Rock House. Photographer: Rose Stereograph Co. 
State Library of Victoria Image H32492/5101

The Nuttings moved (20) to the original house in Black Rock, Black Rock House, which had been built in 1856 for Charles Ebden - the house gave the suburb its name (22). In August 1973, Arthur Nutting applied to the Sandringham Council for permission to demolish the house to build flats. The application to demolish the house was refused, after some involvement from the National Trust and other interested parties. The Age newspaper of August 14, 1973, also published an interesting article, written by Peter Smark, about the building, under the head line - Time to  stop developer - If the hammer falls the council and people of the area will have proved they care nothing about the origins of their place and Melbourne as a whole will have shown it has learned nothing (23).

The garden walls of Black Rock House, Black Rock, the property 
the Nuttings moved to when they left Garfield.
Black Rock House and Fortifications, c. 1905. 
Image is cropped from a postcard. State Library of Victoria Image H90.140/55

Further in the article Peter Smark wrote about the significance of the building Black Rock House was built of timber and sandstone quarried from nearby Quiet Corner area in 1856-57. It was designed by Clauscen and Becker for Mr Charles H. Ebden, and the superb stonework on the garden walls is by John and Patrick Barrow, two of the best stone craftsmen then working in the Port Phillip Bay area.  Mr Ebden was a man of some importance. Before separation he was the Port Phillip District's member in the NSW Legislative Council. He later served as Auditor-General to Lieutenant-Governor LaTrobe and was Treasurer and member of the first Victorian Legislative Council (24).

Arthur Nutting, World War One veteran, Accountant, Storekeeper and the inventor of a new type of Ute, died November 13, 1978, aged 82 and his wife, Connie, died April 10,  1983, aged 81 (25).

Trove list - I have created a list of articles on Arthur Nutting and his family, access it here.

(1) The Argus, October 13, 1936, see here.
(3) Date of birth from his listing on the Springvale Botanical Cemetery website, here. Address and father's occupation from the Electoral Rolls on
(5) The Herald, April 22, 1920, see here.
(6) Commonwealth of Australia Gazette December 28, 1922, see here and resignation Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, March 22, 1923, see here.
(7) Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages Index; children listed with them in the Electoral Rolls and Donald  served in World War Two He was born August 2, 1924. 
(8) Date of arrival in Catani from the Electoral Rolls - in 1927 they were listed at Riversdale Road, and in 1928 Arthur was listed as a Merchant at Catani. As he became the Secretary of the Yannathan and Catani Pony Races in February 1927,  I believe they must have been in the town in 1926, in spite of what the Electoral Roll says. 
(10) Dandenong Journal, December 10, 1927, see here.
(11) The Argus November 22, 1927, see here.
(12) The Argus, February 24 1927, see here; The Argus, April 3, 1928, see here.
(13) The Photo was labelled with most of the names when it was donated to the Koo Wee Rup Historical Society in 2020.
(14) The Age, January 19, 1929, see here.
(15) Shire of Berwick and Shire of Cranbourne Rate Books. Move to Garfield - based on the 1931 school photo  (above) and newspaper reports in my Trove list.
(16) Dandenong Journal, August 23, 1934, see here.
(17) The Age, April 25, 1933, see here; The Argus, July 25, 1935, see here; The Argus, July 15, 1936, see here.
(18) The Argus, October 13, 1936, see here.
(19) See my Trove list.
(20) Shire of Berwick Rate books, various articles in my Trove list and the Electoral Rolls on
(21) A Colonial Beau Brummell built Black Rock House by John Hetherington,  The Age, October 19, 1963. p. 22. The article said the Nuttings purchased the property in 1943 and lived in part of the old house for a while but now lived in a modern house on the property. The Age article was accessed on, an add-on.
(22) The house has a Friends Group -
(23) Time to Stop Developer by Peter Smark, The Age, August 14, 1973, p. 2. Accessed on, an add-on.
(24) Time to Stop Developer by Peter Smark, The Age, August 14, 1973, p. 2. Accessed on, an add-on.
(25) Springvale Botanical Cemetery website, here.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

The Arthur Streeton painting of the Brown family of Berwick

I was reading Early Days of Berwick (1) and came across the following in the Harkaway chapter - For some time an artist, Mr Ford Patterson [sic], lived on this property. Whilst there he painted on the stable door a stockman which was a very fine piece of work. What became of it is not known. Mr Paterson was the brother of Mrs Geordie Brown, of the Berwick Border Store. Her son represented Australia as a hurdler in the Olympic Games. After her husband's death Mrs Brown married James Gibb, M.H.R. (2).

That was interesting, because it is said (3)  that Arthur Streeton (1867-1943) painted a portrait of the Brown family in their house, Inveresk, at Berwick, but there didn't seem to be any evidence that this family portrait existed, so when I found the reference above about the link between the Brown family and the artist John Ford Paterson (1951-1912), I thought I would investigate further.

John Ford Paterson's Australian Dictionary of Biography entry by Marjorie Tipping, says, in part, as a landscape painter he was not as successful as others in the Heidelberg group. His work was more romantic in mood and his sense of colour, draftsmanship and mystical feeling for the bush placed him among the important Australian artists of the nineteenth century. With such artists as Conder and Roberts he broke away from the Victorian Academy of Art to found the Australian Art Association. In 1888 these organizations amalgamated as the Victorian Artists' Society; Paterson was its president in 1902 (4). The two other men mentioned are Charles Conder (1868-1909) and Tom Roberts (1856-1931).

Clearly, Paterson was an artist of some note, and he knew Arthur Streeton. In July 1888, the fact that they were both elected to the Victorian Artists' Society Council (5) and they exhibited together in May 1892 (6), are examples of some of their connections. This connection strengthened the likelihood in my mind that Arthur Streeton may have painted a portrait of the Brown family at Inveresk.

Inveresk, Berwick, the residence of George Brown, designed 
by Little and Beasley.
Image originally in Building, Engineer and Mining Journal, March 28, 1891 and republished in Berwick Nostalgia: a pictorial history of Berrick (Berwick Pakenham Historical Society, 2001)

Inveresk was built by George Brown, a draper, of Berwick in 1891 (7). George had been in Berwick for many years and was originally married to Margaret Stewart. Margaret was the sister of Susan Bain, the wife of Donald Bain. Donald had established the Border Hotel, also called the Berwick Inn, in High Street Berwick in 1857. Donald and Susan married in 1859 and George and Margaret married in 1864. George and Margaret had one son, George in 1864, who died in tragic circumstances on May 31, 1887 when he was hit by a train. Margaret died July 28, 1884, aged 50 (8).

George Brown married again in January 13, 1887 to Mary Jane Paterson. He was 50 and she was 32 and a widow (9). Her first husband, Thomas Esson, had died in Scotland around 1881 and Mary Jane came to Australia with her son to join other family members, who were already in Melbourne (10). Her son, Thomas Louis Buvelot Esson (1878-1943) was the playwright, poet and Socialist (11). Mary Jane had two other brothers in Melbourne, apart from John Ford Paterson; her brother Hugh was also an artist and the father of artists Esther Paterson (1892-1971) and Betty Paterson (1895-1970). Another brother Charles was a decorator whose firm, Paterson Bros later monopolized the decoration of wealthy homes and such public buildings as Government House, Melbourne Town Hall, the Parliamentary Library and the Prahran Public Library (12).

George and Mary Jane had the one son, Francis Paterson Brown on November 13, 1887 (13). Louis Esson's entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography said that Francis was his mother's favourite and that Louis considered his mother to be flighty and economically irresponsible (14). In 1891, George and Mary Jane built, as we said, Inveresk at 93 High Street, Berwick.   It was made of local Berwick bricks, roofed in slate imported from Wales and designed by architects were Little and Beasley, who had who also designed the Berwick Grammar School  at 76 Brisbane Street (15).  John Little and Hillson Beasley had formed a partnership in January 1891 (16). John Little was later in partnership with John Grainger, the Architect and Civil Engineer, a man overshadowed in life by his famous son, Percy Grainger (17). Hillson Beasley's previous work included the East St Kilda Congregationalist Church on the corner of Hotham and Inkerman Streets and in 1896 he moved to Western Australia where he became the Chief Architect of the Public Works Department (18)

It was at Inveresk that Arthur Streeton was said to have painted the portrait. This has been an on-going mystery for myself and others for many years. In 2013, a colleague of mine, Alice Woolven, asked what I knew of this portrait and she then emailed Dr Anna Gray at the National Gallery of Australia who kindly contacted Oliver Streeton, the grandson of Sir Arthur Streeton and this was his response.

Dr Anna Gray has forwarded on to me your e-mail to her of 8th April. I have no knowledge of a print by Arthur Streeton of “Inveresk”, Berwick, but a portrait of a child, Frank P. Brown '91 has been offered for auction three times, according to the Australian Art Sales Digest record: Joels 22/11/1995 - lot 108 - unsold; Joels 27/11/1996 - lot 111 - unsold; Joels 3/8/1999 - lot 246 - unsold.

The date '91 is possibly a mis-reading of the date inscribed on the painting because there is mention of a visit to Berwick in two letters of Arthur Streeton; to Tom Roberts, June 1892, “... - I’m off this week to Berwick to work at the two £10 commissions I have......” ; to Tom Roberts, 29th June 1892, Berwick Sunday Evening; see the text of these letters in Letters from Smike; the letters of Arthur Streeton 1890 - 1943, edited by Ann Galbally and Anne Gray, Oxford University Press, Australia, 1989 - pp 51 - 54.

There is mention of a possible portrait of Mrs Brown, but I do not know if one exists. When I find a better image of the portrait of young Frank P. Brown, I will try to examine the date to determine what has actually been inscribed. As the painting appears to have remained unsold, I suppose there is a possibility that it can be tracked down from Joels vendor records.

There are two early watercolours by Arthur Streeton, Berwick (Joels, 13/4/1988 - lot 1219 and Joels, 20/4/1993 - lot 150) and Haystacks at Berwick (Joels, 8/11/1978 - lot 521 and Joels, 27/5/1981- lot 509). Both watercolours are undated but appear to me to be in an mid-1880s style. So far I have not come across any reference that would explain Streeton’s visit to Berwick at this time. I attach an image of the Frank P. Brown portrait below.
With best wishes,
Oliver Streeton

Portrait of Frank P. Brown, 1891 by Arthur Streeton,who credited Leonard Joel for the image.

Frank P. Brown - is surely  Francis Paterson Brown, the son of Mary Jane Brown, nee Paterson,  and the nephew of artist, John Ford Paterson. Frank Brown, attended Scotch College, and played for Melbourne and St Kilda in the Victorian Football League. He was an all-round athlete and Australian Hurdles Champion, and represented Australia at the Festival of the Empire Games held in London during the festivities held during the Coronation of King George V in 1911 and won the 120 yards Hurdle at an International meet in Berlin in 1912, but I can find no evidence he competed in the Olympic Games, as stated in the Early Days of Berwick.  Frank served in the A.I. F during World War One. He was the boxing and athletic editor of the Sporting Globe, when he died at only 41 years of age in  November 26, 1928. One of his obituaries in The Herald is written by C.J. Dennis (19).

Francis Paterson Brown during his Scotch College days.

There may well still be a portrait of the Brown family, painted at Inveresk by Arthur Streeton, waiting to be discovered, but I am of the opinion that Arthur Streeton did paint a portrait at Inveresk, but it wasn't of the Brown family, it was of their son, little Frank Brown. 

Thank you to Alice Woolven, Dr Anna Gray and Oliver Streeton. It was Alice, who in 2013, was curious enough to email  Dr Gray, who contacted Mr Streeton. Between the  four of us, we have (1 believe) solved  a mystery. 

(1) Early Days of Berwick and its surrounding districts, compiled by Norman E. Beaumont, James F. Curran and R.H. Hughes (3rd edition published by Rotary, 1979), p. 74. The book was originally published in 1948.
(2) The reason I was looking up Early Days of Berwick was to see what information they had on Franz Schmitt, who had the Steinberg vineyard at Berwick. Early Days of Berwick referred to a property owned by a Lotha Schmidt who operated a vineyard and winery and this was the property that John Ford Paterson lived on for a time.  Franz Schmitt, Lotha Schmidt their vineyards are a story for another time.
George Brown died December 29, 1896 and Mary Jane married James Gibb on July 30, 1898, when she was 43 years old and he was 55.  The Hon James Gibb (1843 - 1919) was the son of Alexander Gibb of Campbellfield. James was the M.L.A for Mornington from 1880 to 1886 and also owned at one time, Melville Park (now Edrington in Berwick, the former home of Lord and Lady Casey).  Gibb was also a draught horse breeder and described as one of the most enterprising farmers in the State - a champion ploughman, gentleman an politician.   He was a Shire of Berwick Councillor for 30 years and the Federal Member for Flinders from 1903 to 1906.  In 1904, Mary Jane Gibb purchased the Tullillan property in Clyde Road. She died on July 30, 1932 aged 78. Read her obituary in the Shepparton Advertiser of August 1, 1932, here.
(3) The Heritage of the City of Berwick, researched by Context P/L and published in 1993, quotes (page 320) A Brief Cultural Review of the City of Berwick by Helen Millicer, which was produced in 1991. I have not seen the Millicer document.
(4) Read John Ford Paterson's entry, written by Marjorie Tipping,  in the Australian Dictionary of Biography
(5) The Argus, July 26, 1888, see here.
(6) The Argus, May 14, 1892, see here.
(7) The Heritage of the City of Berwick, researched by Context P/L and published in 1993
(8) Family information from various notices in the newspapers and Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia District researched and published by the Narre Warren & District Family History Group in 2010. George Brown, junior married Emily Gissing on August 14, 1885, she was the daughter of George Gissing of St Kilda. You can read an account of the Inquest into his accident in the South Bourke & Mornington Journal, of June 8, 1887, here
(9) Marriage certificate of Mary Jane Esson and George Brown.
(10) Louis Esson's entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, written by D.R. Walker,
(11) Ibid.
(13) Scotch College, Melbourne website
(15) The Heritage of the City of Berwick, researched by Context P/L and published in 1993
(16) The Age, January 3, 1891, see here.
(18) Hillson Beasley - East St Kilda Congregationalist Church  Australian Dictionary of Biography entry
(19) Frank Brown - Football career is listed on the Scotch College website; Other information - Obituary Sporting Globe, November 28, 1928, see here; Obituary The Argus, November 2, 1928, see here; Obituary by C.J. Dennis, The Herald, November 27, 1928, see here.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Pakenham Consolidated School photographs - Part 1

I came across these photographs of Pakenham Consolidated School on the Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV). The Pakenham Consolidated School was officially opened on May 29, 1951 with 258 pupils, on the site of the Pakenham State School, No.1359, in Main Street. The original Pakenham School had opened on a site near the Toomuc Creek in January 1875 and it moved to the Main Street site in 1891. I went to Pakenham Consolidated School on the Grenda's school bus, Bus 7, from Vervale from 1964 until 1970. My two sisters and my brother also went there. You can read more about the formation of the school, here.

When the school was established, new class rooms were constructed, however some of the school buildings were also transferred and used at the school and some of these buildings are shown here. This post also has photos of the opening of the school and exterior shots. The PROV also has many photos of the construction phase, which I have not included here, but you can see them on their website,, Part 2 has photographs of students in class rooms and other interior shots and some school bus photographs, see here. The photos were taken in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Old School Buildings

The original Pakenham State School, No. 1359.
Exterior of old school,  PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/10, F225

The original Pakenham State School, No. 1359.
Construction scenes and exterior shots  VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C148

Some of the old schools, the one on the left is Toomuc Valley School, No. 3034.
Old classrooms, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B986

More old school buildings, the little one in the middle is Nar Nar Goon South, No, 4554.
View of old building,  PROV  VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C259

Nar Nar Goon North No. 2914.
Construction scenes and exterior shots,  PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C146

View towards the original Pakenham School, love the little girl looking through the window.
Construction views, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C173

The Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony, May 29, 1951.
Opening ceremony at Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B995

Opening Ceremony, May 29, 1951.
Opening ceremony at Pakenham Consolidated, VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B996 

Opening Ceremony, May 29, 1951.
Opening ceremony at Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B997 

Opening Ceremony, May 29, 1951.
Opening ceremony at Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B998

Opening Ceremony, May 29, 1951.
Opening ceremony at Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B999 

Exterior photographs

The houses for the teachers
Teachers' residences, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B975

The toilet block and the shelter sheds
Toilet block, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B985

Exterior of playground, Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H738

Exterior of playground, Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H739

The classroom wing on the west side, against Dame Patty Avenue.
Front exterior, Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H740

Front of the school
Front exterior, Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H741

Exterior of playground, Pakenham Consolidated, PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H743

This post shows some of the old school buildings transferred to the site, the original Pakenham State School; the opening ceremony and exterior shots. Part 2 has photographs of students in class rooms and other interior shots and some school bus photographs, see here.

Pakenham Consolidated School photographs - Part 2

I came across these photographs of Pakenham Consolidated School on the Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV). The Pakenham Consolidated School was officially opened on May 29th, 1951 with 258 pupils, on the site of the Pakenham State School, No.1359, in Main Street. The original Pakenham School had opened on a site near the Toomuc Creek in January 1875 and it moved to the Main Street site in 1891. I went to Pakenham Consolidated School on the Grenda's school bus, Bus 7, from Vervale from 1964 until 1970. My two sisters and my brother also went there. We spent at least two hours a day on the school bus, we must have been the most easterly students who attended Pakenham Consolidated School. You can read more about the formation of the school, here.

These photos show students in class rooms, other interior shots and school bus photographs. Part 1 has photographs of the old school buildings transferred to the site, the original Pakenham State School; the opening ceremony and exterior shots, see here. The PROV also have many other photos of the construction phase -, which I have not included here. The photos were taken in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Class room photographs

Art Room, Pakenham Consolidated School 
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H730

Prefab classroom, Pakenham Consolidated School 
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H732

 Boys in woodwork room  
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B978

Using f/s projector in classroom  
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B982

Teacher turns on loudspeaker, Pakenham Consolidated School 
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H737

Corridor, Pakenham Consolidated School 
Public Records Office of Victoria VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H736

Pakenham Consolidated school Girl receives piano lesson
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, B980

Sick bay, Office and Staff room

Sick room
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C104

Parents enrolling a child
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C160

Staff room, Pakenham Consolidated School 
Public Records Office of Victoria VPRS 14517/P0001/19, H744

School bus photographs
Because I spent so much of my school days on a school bus, here's some bus photos.

Children wait for buses   
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/54, C85

Children at school bus.  
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C136

Children and school bus  
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C159

Children line up for buses   
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C168

 Construction views, buses in background
PROV VPRS 14517/P0001/55, C177  

These photos show students in class rooms, other interior shots and school bus photographs. Part 1 has photographs of the old school buildings transferred to the site, the original Pakenham State School; the opening ceremony and exterior shots, see here.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Mr Bailey's Orchard at Narre Warren

In the 1890s William and Frances (Fanny) Bailey settled in Narre Warren North and established the first commercial orchard in the area. William was born in Harrow in England, the son of a farmer (1). William arrived in Victoria in 1861 for the purpose of learning the nursery and horticultural business from his uncle, who owned the well-known Coles' Nursery at Hawthorn. For ten years Bailey worked for his uncle and then bought what was the first plant nursery in Malvern on land adjoining Elizabeth Street (2).  The plant nursery was called Malvern Nursery, and it was on the aforementioned Elizabeth Street and Toorak Road.

In 1872, William married Fanny Godwin and they had ten children, all born in Malvern - Annie Frances (1873-1944,  married Charles Brown in 1896), George Robert (1875-1960, married Florence Emma Toe in 1901), James William (1877-1962, married Lucy Agnes Webb in 1903), William Henry (1879-1942, married Christina Cameron in 1905), Rose Emmeline (1881-1891), Alfred Percy (1883-1966, married Margaret Josephine Coxon in 1910), Charles Cornelius (1885-1965, married Lilian Mary Mickle in 1911), Charlotte Myrtle (1891-1979, married Edward Percival Krummeck in 1932), Violet Emma (1891-1952, Edward George Hill in 1915), Ivy Edith May (1893-1941, did not marry) (3).

In 1891 William Bailey purchased 50 acres at Narre Warren, and began planting out his orchard then, but the family did not move there until after the birth of the last child, Ivy in 1893.  The Narre Warren property was called Bona Vista, in Bailey Road (4).

Some of William and Fannie's children remained in the area after they reached adulthood - their eldest son, George (1875-1960), had a General store in Narre Warren, operated by family members until the 1970s. George and his wife Florence built Brentwood (later called Clarinda Park) in 1904. In 1993, the address was 271-299 Narre Warren North Road, I don't think it still exists.  Another son James married, as we said,  Lucy Agnes Webb, the daughter of Sidney and Anne Webb. He was also a fruit grower. They built Araluen in 1903 and their daughter, Lucy,  lived there until she died  in April 1997 and the land was sub-divided. Araluen burnt down in mysterious circumstances a few years ago.

William died December 29, 1922 aged 81 and Frances (nee Godwin) died May 28, 1929, aged 78. 

I don't have a photograph of William Bailey, but this is his son, James Bailey with his son, Sidney James Bailey, taken c. 1918 
in their Narre Warren North orchard.

There are two reports of William Bailey's horticulture enterprise - the first is from the Weekly Times of April 15, 1899 (see here)  and the second from The Leader of February 23, 1907, (see here.)  They are interesting as they talk about the many varieties of apples grown on the Bailey property, many of which we no longer hear about, and certainly don't see in the supermarkets.

FRUIT GROWING AT NARRE WARREN (By Our Agricultural Reporter.) The Weekly Times of April 15, 1899 

The cultivation of fruit has not been extensively carried out in the Narre Warren district, but a splendid object lesson is afforded, as to the possibilities of the district, by Mr W. Bailey's Bona Vista orchard, about 4½ miles from the Narre Warren railway station and 1½ miles from old Narre Warren township

The orchard is pleasantly situated on the side of one of the numerous hills to be found in the district. When Mr Bailey first started the land was heavily timbered and covered with dense scrub. He was laughed at when he stated his intention of planting fruit trees, and was told failure was bound to ensue. Being a practical orchardist, he formed his own opinion about the matter, and from the results there is no doubt as to the soundness of his judgment.

Although the orchard has only been started eight years, the growth made is simply marvellous. Pinus insignis, planted for breakwinds, would, from the growth made, lead one to suppose they had been planted at least twice that period. What strikes one on first entering the orchard is the uniform size of the trees - one tree would serve as a model for the whole of any particular plantation. The soil is of a granite nature, and at the first glance would not impress one as to its fertility.

The orchard has a north and westerly aspect, which seems to suit the trees admirably. Remarking on the size of the trees, Mr Bailey explained that he followed out a system of summer pruning, so often advised in "The Weekly Times", for by this means all the available growth is directed into the proper channel, instead of making rank growth, which has to be cut away in the winter pruning.

The whole of the orchard has been thoroughly drained by means of either tile or charcoal drains, but for efficacy Mr Bailey prefers the former. Although no insect pests have yet made their appearance, spraying is regularly carried out during the winter months as a preventive, Bordeaux being the mixture chiefly favored.

The area devoted to Peaches at the present time is about two acres, and these trees look remarkably well, with the exception of a few worked in the almond stock, and these have proved far from satisfactory, while a few have grown as freely as those worked in the peach stock. The majority are dwarfed and stunted. Why this should be Mr. Bailey is unable to explain, but it should serve as a warning to all intending planters in the district. The crops this season have been very fine, and have given good returns. The varieties most favored are Briggs Red May, Hale's Early, Early Crawford, Fosters Royal George the Comet.  The trees have been planted 15ft x 15ft. apart, and this, Mr Bailey finds, is far too close.

There are twelve acres devoted to the cultivation of apples, and these have also made very free growth. In some instances the outer growths have been brought into a horizontal position, thus causing lateral shoots to grow out, besides utilising the exuberant growth, the size of the trees has been considerably extended. This system has been more particularly observed with trees having a tendency to grow into close pyramid form. 

The following varieties give equally good results: - Rome Beauty, Jonathan, King of Pippins, Reinette du Canada, Summer Scarlet Pearmain, London or Five Crown Pippin, H.U. Cole's Prince of Pippin, and Cole's Rymer. The latter is an enormous cropper; its only fault is that it comes into bearing the same time as Jonathan. The apples are planted 20 x 20 feet apart.

The Rome Beauty apple, one of the varieties grown by William Bailey.
This illustration, dated March 1881 was done by John Charles Cole of the Richmond Nursery,  the first cousin of William Bailey (see footnote 2).
State Library of Victoria Image H96.160/2075

The three acres of pears show remarkably clean growth, and the fruit is of excellent quality. Williams's Bon Chretien, Souvenir de Congres, Bailey's Bergamot, Keiper's hybrid, Beurre d'Angon, Doyenne du Bossoch and Vicar of Winckfield are the principal sorts grown.

Plums also receive attention, but not to such a large extent as the other fruits, but from the success attained Mr Bailey would feel quite justified in the area devoted to them. Orleans, Washington, Black Orleans, Fellenberg, and Golden Drop have given the best returns. Whilst on the subject of plums we must not forget the Japanese variety, Kelsey. This kind is an enormous bearer, and is especially useful for private use. The blood Japanese Mr Bailey would advise grown as a weeping, ornamental plant, for planting on the lawn or elsewhere.

Apricots seem as much at home as the other varieties of fruits, but only the following varieties are grown to any extent: - Ouillen's Early, Moorpark, and Campbellfield's Seedling. The strawberry plantations are by no means the least important item at Bona Vista. The returns from this source have been excellent. The plants are placed in double rows, 2½ feet apart, and 15 inches in the rows. This enables the horse hoe to work readily between the rows.

Mr Bailey remarked that, to grow strawberries successfully, cultivation of the soil must be carried out the whole of the year, and not, as many growers do, leave the plants untouched directly the fruit is gathered until the following spring The manure used for this crop is principally bonedust and stable manure. The following are the varieties grown: - Marguerite, Edith Christy, Trollope's Victoria, and Arthur. The latter does exceedingly well, but, unlike the other varieties named, does not produce a second crop.

Mr Bailey has a clean lot of young fruit trees, suitable for planting this season. The collection comprises all the leading kinds of peaches, apples, pears, plums, strawberries, etc. Besides the orchard, Mr Bailey has about [illegible] acres devoted to the growth of tomatoes, peas, pumpkins, maize, and other crops, suitable for feeding purposes. (Weekly Times of April 15, 1899, see here)

, February 23, 1907

Mr. Bailey was a prominent member of the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria, but after settling at Narre Warren he was forced, owing to the distance, from Melbourne, to take a less active interest in its work. The son of a strawberry grower near London, Mr. Bailey came out to Australia, and started work in Mr. J.C. Cole's Richmond nurseries (5), and, though now well advanced in years, he is still actively engaged; and working with the enthusiasm born of a natural fondness for watching and encouraging plant growth. Several sons are engaged in horticultural pursuits; two of whom are working in their father's plantation. 

The orchard, which covers 35 acres, is situated near the summit of a granitic hill, about three miles from the Narre Warren railway station. The character of the land is such that the breaking up of the soil and planting fruit trees demanded more than ordinary pluck, and endurance. Immense granite boulders jut out from the surface of the soil. To remove these extraordinary blots from an orchard site meant, digging holes, under each boulder and lighting fires. As granite carries a large percentage of water, the heat forces an expansion, which splits the rock, and thus facilitates the work of removal. The soil, of course, takes its character from the granite. Mr. Bailey reckons trees get all the potash they require, but stable manure is frequently used. The latter is applied as a mulch to the trees direct from the stables and cow bails, and thus there is no waste of ammonia, as is frequently the case when stacking in pits. 

Horses and cows are stabled the year round, and with plenty of bayonet grass, pea straw, &c., every pound of animal manure is secured, for the orchard. "It is no use running an orchard without it," Mr. Bailey remarks.  The orchard is tile and timber drained throughout, and, owing to its exposed position, the property is divided into sections by lines of pine, tree break winds, which are trimmed flat on both sides, leaving no overlapping branches near the fruit trees. The soil around the established trees is kept in fine tilth by constant ploughing and scarifying, while immediately under the trees the spade and hoe are used. 

The trees being pruned to bear low down, it is impossible to work horse implements too close. The cost of digging is reckoned, at 1d. per tree, or 5/ per acre, per annum. Owing to the tendency of the soil to wash away on this hillside orchard, paths at irregular intervals are retained in an unploughed condition, and covered with rushes. The latter is a carpet which serves the purpose of retaining the moisture and keeping weeds down, and forms one of several novel and attractive features of a well ordered plantation.

To note the fruits in detail, first place must be given to the apples of which there is an extensive collection of varieties. The trees are arranged at even distance of 20 feet each way, but in one of the recent plantings they are set out at 23 feet distances, with peach trees planted half way between in one direction only. The latter method is adopted with the view of removing the peaches after they have yielded several crops, by which time the apples are fairly established. Some dead peaches near an open drain have been allowed to stand as frames for passion fruit vines.

An interesting example of the passing out of favor of a good apple is shown in a patch of the Yates variety, grafted on the butts of what used to be John Toon trees. The latter used to pay well until the Jonathan came into favor, and so it had to give way to a more profitable variety. The Jonathan is one of the best apples grown in this orchard. Trees growing 20 feet apart had branches touching when they were six years old, and yielding five cases of fruit per tree. They are now over ten years old, have yielded regularly every season, and one year the trees yielded 50/ per tree through export consignments.

Cox's Orange Pippin - a variety grown by William Bailey
This is a wax model, made in the Melbourne Museum 
by Joy Dickins, August 1, 1949.

"This is the land for Jonathans," Mr. Bailey remarked, and, pointing to a tree bearing a good half crop, added: "That is the way I like to see them growing. Last year half a crop, this season the same, and it will be repeated next year. Grown like that you get a better grade, better size and better quality." A number of Rennettes were cut back and grafted with this popular variety, and good crops are now in sight. 

Comparatively small quantities of this orchard's produce is exported, the fruit being grown to meet the requirements of local markets. How ever, one of Mr. Bailey's sons took 500 cases to England on the steamer Geelong, a steamer in which the engineer took particular care in regard to the maintenance of an even temperature in the fruit storage room throughout the voyage. For this reason chiefly, Mr. Bailey states, the care in selecting good fruit and careful packing was not wasted, and Jonathans, Bismarks and a few Cox's Orange Pippins opened up in London, as sound as on the day they were packed. High prices were realised, and in regard to Cox's Orange Pippin especially Mr. Bailey is convinced that it is one of the best paying apples if landed in England in good condition. A few Munro's Favorite are grown, but owing to the tendency of the skin to split near the stalk, a failing of this variety common to the cooler districts of the State, it is not favored. 

The Jonathan apple, another variety grown by William Bailey.
This is a wax model, made in the Melbourne Museum 
by Joy Dickins in 1950.
Image: Museums Victoria Collections

From ten year old Bismarks 20 bushels of fruit per tree have been taken. Red Astrakans started to color three weeks ago, and this is a late season. The latter is on the market now. Mr. Bailey keeps for a day or two after picking, and by the time they are marketed the fruit is very juicy and attractive. Odd varieties are dotted about the orchard, such as Lord Suffield and Cornish Gilliflower. The latter is a very pretty streaked apple, known in Tasmania as the Ribstone. It is an old English variety, and is blight proof. There is a good show of fruit on the Rome Beauty trees, a result due to the thrip insect attacking the blossom, which in this variety blooms very late in the season. This pest threatens to become a most serious menace, especially to late varieties, such as Rome Beauty. Like Munro's Favorite, the Cleopatra is better suited to the warm districts north of the Dividing Range, but in this orchard a few trees are showing good crops of clean fruit, "because they were sprayed at the right time."

One of  the best paying apples grown here is the Gravenstein, a variety which has become so popular in local markets that a Melbourne salesman said, "If I were planting an orchard it would, comprise Gravensteins for the most part." These trees produce very strong, sweeping branches, and while 20 feet distances suit certain upright growing varieties, Mr. Bailey would prefer, now that Gravensteins are established, that they had the freedom of 25 feet distances. 

In commenting upon the low-lying branches which sweep the ground beneath his apple trees, Mr. Bailey remarked, "You can cut off a branch at any time, but you cannot grow another one in that position in a single season. Fruit on these low-hanging branches are not affected by the wind; it is easier to pick, and the tree is easier to spray."  Particulars regarding the culture of other fruits, will be given in a second article. (The Leader of February 23, 1907, see here. A follow up article was in The Leader of March 2, 1907, see here, and it discussed the other fruits grown on Mr Bailey's orchard )

(1) William's obituary in The Argus of  January 3, 1923 (see here), says he was engaged with his father in fruit growing. An article in The Leader of  February 23, 1907, see here, says he was the son of a strawberry grower.
(2) Cooper, John Butler The City of Malvern: from its first settlement to a City (Speciality Press, 1935), p. 124.  His uncle, was Mr Thomas Cornelius Cole (1810-1889, the brother of William's mother, Annie Cole). Two of Mr Cole's sons also had nurseries - John Charles Cole (1838-1891)  had the Richmond Nursery and Henry Ungerford Cole (1843-1904), a Hawthorn Nursery. Another son, the Reverend Thomas Cornelius Cole (1836-1879)  was the vicar at Malvern. You can read about the family in the entry written by Richard Aitken, in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, here and information about the Nurseries in The Australasian, August 19, 1876, here.
(3) Information from the Indexes to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages
(4) William Bailey is listed as owning 50 acres from the 1891/1892 Rate Books. As all the children were born in Malvern I am assuming they moved after the birth of Ivy in 1893. This is confirmed by the fact that William is listed in the Malvern Rate Books (available on in 1893, but not 1894. 
(5) See Footnote 2 - this implies he was at his cousin's nursery, not his Uncle's nursery