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A social history of the plant nursery industry in Metropolitan Perth and the Balingup/Harvey districts of Western Australia 1829 - 1939

Hooper, Carol (2003) A social history of the plant nursery industry in Metropolitan Perth and the Balingup/Harvey districts of Western Australia 1829 - 1939. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The plant nursery industry in Perth during the period 1829-1939 was a valuable marker of social, cultural and economic change. The growth patterns of the industry were shaped by economic development and population increases. As the plants sold by the industry could be used for either food or decoration, the gradual change of focus of the nurseries from one to the other reflected the rising standard of living in the community. Before World War II, nurserymen in Perth had frequently trained abroad or in the eastern states, and played a role in the dissemination of information about gardening through radio programmes, newspaper and journal articles and their own publications, providing a useful service to Perth residents. Nurseries were key businesses in developing some of the outer suburbs. The majority of plants in early nurseries were grown in soil beds in the open. This method necessitated the location of businesses on large blocks that could provide good soil and adequate water. Many nurserymen were involved in local government, and played a part in obtaining improved services for their communities. By providing large numbers of locally grown plants the fruit growing nurseries assisted in the development of the orchard industry in the State, and the State nursery at Hamel provided thousands of trees for commercial use and as shade and shelter trees. The retail nurseries were small, skilled family businesses. The labour-intensive methods of production and ensuing lifestyle were typical of pioneer intensive agriculture. In December 1939 the industry achieved professional status through the formation of The Nurserymen's Association of Western Australia. The era of the pioneering nurserymen had ended.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Layman, Lenore
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