Sunday, November 09, 2014

Anlaby Garden

"To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul"  --  Alfred Austin
January 4th   - the last time I wrote in my Blog. I can't believe it is so long. Time I put pen to paper  - or fingers to keyboard and got on with it.
This year I have spent a huge amount of time in my garden and I am very pleased with the results of my labour, but today this is not about my garden, but a wonderful garden Jo and I visited recently.

Anlaby Station was established in 1839 14 kilometres north of Kadina in the mid north of South Australia by John Finiss and then acquired by Frederick Dutton in 1841. At one stage it consisted of 70 000 acres but the size was reduced over the years. The history of the property and of the garden is interesting and involved and I am not going to attempt to cover it here. If you are interested, go to Google. Deakin University has a very interesting history of the garden that can be easily accessed.

Suffice to say that the garden was extensive(10 acres) and full of exotic plant species that required more water than was readily available and by the early 1900s required 14 gardeners to maintain it in Utopian splendour. The station and its garden reached it heyday in this period and hosted such important people as the Prince of Wales. Among its attractions were an orchid house, a stove house, a pelargonium house, a chrysanthemum house, an azalea and rhododendron house, 2 shade houses, a stone grotto, a stove house, mushroom house, cucumber house, grape house, apple storehouse, greenhouse, 2 rosaries, 3 lily ponds, a peacock pavilion, a tennis lawn and walled vegetable gardens, not to mention house gardens to provide house flowers. No wonder they needed 14 gardeners.

The garden was not well maintained further into the 20th century and after the Duttons sold it   in the 1970s the house and gardens fell into a sad state of disrepair. New owners acquired it around 2002 and set about the huge task of renovating both house and garden. They started clearing the mass of overgrown shrubs and trees, working from the house out, discovering in the process some amazing garden structure. Then they went back and started re planting the gardens, again from the house out.

What we see in 2014 is a beautiful property in a state of renovation. These photos I took should give you some idea of the size and beauty of the property.

This is the main house and front garden. As far as I can establish it was built around 1857 with later additions. It has 23 rooms, including a servants' wing.

This delightful hose was the managers residence and farm office . This is now a three bedroom B & B.

Tours of the garden and main house are available but need to be pre- arranged

This paved area houses the stables, tack rooms and carriage house.

The Head gardener's residence

One of the several walled vegetable gardens.

This structure is built from terracotta tiles and was the apple storehouse. Inside it is lined with wide wooden shelves.

The renovated peacock pavilion.

The folly, overlooking the tennis lawn. This delightful building was originally a stone water tank. The room upstairs was where the 'squire' retired to get away from his family to read and write in peace. The bottom room was used as a piano room by the mistress of the house. This building was used by Geoffrey Dutton, the writer.

Below are views of the renovated garden around the house.


The tennis lawn and main house viewed from the Folly.


 a delightful walk

This  area, still to be replanted was probably the house garden where flowers were grown for picking for the house.

Part of the original stone grotto that is being renovated.

This amazing garden is a work in progress. It is astounding to think that it was established in the dry mid north of South Australia where there is no permanent natural water supply. Originally it was watered from dams, but in drought conditions water was scarce and many plants did not survive. Now the water is supplied by a bore.

Hopefully Anlaby will be open to the public next year and we can return to see what further improvements have been made.  Truly a fascinating visit. If you would like to see more of this property, go to the website in the link above.

Liz Needle



  1. Wow! What an amazing place, home and garden.

  2. Lovely garden Liz. Keep on blogging I miss your lovely photos!

  3. having trouble loading some of the photos (i think it is my bad connection today) but what i saw was lovely - the ivy!!! wow!