Potted Histories

Harvey’s Blissful Orange Blossom Days

Mrs Blackburn spent a few memorable months with her grandparents, Fred and Josephine Gardner, living in Fourth Street, Harvey, 65 years ago. The Gardners retired to Harvey from Geraldton. Fred Gardner was one of the founders of the Geraldton Guardian in 1901. Here are some of Nance Blackburn’s reminiscences of Harvey in 1925.

Some of the things I remember most about Harvey 65 years ago were the blowflies – the size and the massive numbers of them, the irrigation channels, the mosquitoes and, of course, the fruit.

My grandparents, on retirement, had what you would call a small hobby farm of about 12 acres. Grandpa wasn’t into hobby farms but Grandma was. There was a mixed orchard and I mean mixed – apricots, peaches, pears, plums, figs, persimmons, apples, oranges, nectarines and grapes.


Fred and Josephine Gardner, Fourth Street, Harvey. Photo courtesy Nance Blackburn

In the fruit season, mostly holiday time, we would help Grandma pick and sort the fruit for the Perth market. Grandpa reluctantly knocked up the slatted red jarrah fruit cases. They were bought in packs, the cases were lined with newspaper and the fruit carefully packed in, the tops nailed down and our name stencilled in black lead on the side. We would then take them to the station to be railed to Perth markets.

On the station would be hundreds of similar cases, but mostly oranges, as Harvey was the main orange growing district. It was oranges and dairying those days.

From: N Blackburn, ‘Harvey’s blissful orange blossom days’, Harvey/Waroona Reporter, 20 November 1990, p. 6

Additional Information: On the farm the Gardners kept a cow for milk, pigs, chooks, and also maintained a vegetable garden.