March 1907

It has been well known for a quarter of a century that the Lilydale district is exceptionally well suited for the successful cultivation of apple and pear tress for commercial purposes. The Lilydale locality has been producing prize apples for many years and have been able to hold their own at  Hobart Shows.

Lilydale apples are highly coloured but until lately the impression has been that they do not keep. This is largely due to the varieties cultivated and the methods of cultivation. Until recently there have been no big orchards there and the gardens have been merely a sideline. Growers are realising the commercial potential for large scale apple production. The area under apple trees in this district is steadily increasing:

Mr J R Abel planted 20 acres of apple trees and shipped a consignment to England. Dr Pike has increased the area of his orchard and Mr F Walker of Lalla has laid out 25 acres. Messrs Savigny, Kissling and McEwen also have planted a substantial area. 

Mr F Walker also owns the Sandhill Nurseries at Launceston. Five years ago he purchased 50 acres of land a couple of hundred yards from the Lalla Siding. This ground has hitherto remained idle even though settlement is comparatively old in the district.. At the time of his purchase the land was unoccupied . Today that little patch maintains 15 people all the year round and 8 more in the busy season. 

That Mr Walker is a landscape gardener is proved by the picturesque system adopted. When the plantation ages the scene should be a beautiful one. The land is naturally graded and on every boundary are ornamental trees. The main avenue is planted with Kieffers Hybrid Pears which when sufficiently high will be arched right over the roadway so as to meet. This will be both decorative and profitable for the pear selected is especially valuable for canning.  

At the entrance gate from the railway are two promising weeping elms already resembling an umbrella. Because of the heavy freight charges on a consignment that produced only two satisfactory specimens, the cost was over £13 each. Although a very expensive ornament, they should be worth the money. 

Mr Walker has in his orchard 2500 apple, pear and peach trees. In addition he has over 80,000 saleable apple trees and over 100,000 apple trees suitable for next season planting. This nursery supplied the trees for orchards on the Tamar as well as the orchards of Messrs McLaine and Abel at Lilydale. 

Lalla April 1907 

It is said that in the Huon district one “sees apples, smells apples and talks apples all day long” at this time of year. In our little township much the same conditions have prevailed this autumn.

Today over 300 cases left Lilydale for shipment in the Durham. The station presented quite a busy scene which augers well for the future. 

Wood wool is much used this year for packing apples. It is far superior to the paper clippings. 

During the moonlit nights of late one or two orchadists have been robbed of bushels of apples and pears, some trees of the latter being entirely stripped of fruit.

Mr J McLaine and Mr McGaughey have been the chief sufferers in this respect. The thieves are supposed to have come across the Brown Mountain. Here is a chance for the local policeman who is new to our district to distinguish himself. Mr McGaughey has offered a £5 reward for the apprehension of the thieves and suggests that if such wholesale robbery takes place next season the growers should combine and offer a substantial reward.


Mr JR Abels “Seafield” at Lalla now  comprises 40 acres and is described as second in reputation only to Mr FW Walkers El Dorado. “Seafield” is a property of undulating terrain on both sides of the main Road from Lalla to Lilydale. A road of ups and downs, very steep, of sudden turns and of some roughness in parts. The Abel family pack and export their own apples and are chary as yet about changing to the co-operative packing shed. (The co-operative was established in Station Road Lilydale near the railway line). 



One of the best known horticulturists and florists in Tasmania Mr Frank Walker died in Launceston yesterday aged 87. Mr Walker came from England about 65 years ago. Before that he had gained valuable practical experience at Veitches famous nurseries in England. He was interested in mining in his early days in Tasmania but established nurseries in Launceston in 1876 and orchards at Lalla in 1901.

Many tourists call at Lalla to see its fruit trees and flowers, particularly the rhododendrons and azaleas. 

In 1921 Mr Walker went on a trip to expand his horticultural knowledge and visited England, Holland. France and South Africa. A few years later he visited Japan, China and the South Sea Islands.

While in London in 1921 Mr Walker arranged an exhibition in Australia House of Tasmania of apples and pears from Lalla. On account of the wonderful quality and colour, the exhibition created great interest. Later Mr Walker was awarded the Hogg Medal. 

In earlier days Mr walker was a most successful exhibitor of chrysanthemums and roses. He was a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society and National Rose Society of England. 

During the last 50 years he introduced many new varieties of rhododendrons, roses, shrubs and ornamental trees as well as fruits that have since proved valuable and added much to the beauty of innumerable Tasmanian gardens. 

Mr Walker retired from business several years ago. His firm of F Walker and Sons donated all the trees for the Pioneer Avenue between Launceston and Hobart. 

Mr Walker married Miss Annie Bryans of Launceston and she predeceased him in 1918. He is survived by two daughters and three sons. Another daughter and one son died a few years ago. Mr Walker was interred at Carr Villa Cemetery Launceston. 

From the North Eastern Advertiser 31/8/1962

Mrs M Steele of Sandy Bay visited Lilydale last week to see the property formerly owned by her father, Dr Pike who owned the first orchard in Lilydale.

In 1900 Dr Pike was president of the Farmers and Fruitgrowers Association and a photo of the committee and judges including Dr Pike was presented to the Lilydale Council by Mr Thomas Orr of Launceston. The orchard property is now owned by the East brothers.



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