Former Smith’s Nursery

Established in 1863 on the banks of Riddells Creek (Macedon Ranges Shire), Smith’s Nursery was one of Victoria’s earliest plant nurseries and is protected on the Victorian Heritage Register (H2060). Established by John Smith, who trained as a professional horticulturist in Edinburgh and London, and continued by his sons Walter and Thomas, the nursery played an important role in the development of the fruit and horticultural industry in Victoria.

The nursery closed in the 1920s, but substantial evidence remains of the site’s early use, including plantings in nursery rows, remnants of a propagating house, and a display garden and pond remain on the south side of Riddells Creek. Some impressive specimen trees (some rare) also remain. Orchards were established on the sloped land adjacent to the main nursery site. Areas of the site are largely in an area of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Sensitivity.

Today, the sloped land adjacent to the main nursery site is being converted to rural residential use, subdivided into six large rural residential allotments. The subdivision also includes a Nursery Reserve which encompasses the site of the former nursery’s main operations and which will ultimately be managed by Macedon Ranges Shire.

Since 2016, Context has worked closely with the property owners, Macedon Ranges Shire and Heritage Victoria to help conserve and enhance the remnants of the former nursery and its setting, and to help ensure new development responds positively to and is respectful of the heritage values of the place. To achieve these aims, Context has prepared a Vegetation and Landscape Management Plan for the former Nursery site and provided input into the development of detailed Design Guidelines for the residential development. We have also prepared Heritage Impact Statements to accompany successive stages of the permit application process, including for the initial subdivision and subsequently for development on four of the six lots.

Our involvement with the place continues as we prepare an interpretation plan for the former Smith’s Nursery site.