A new book for the Diamond Valley Library Local History collection has been recently added. A circulating copy is also available
In 1824, nine-year-old Robert Whatmough began work at a local cotton mill in his home town of Rochdale, Lancashire, a product of the widespread poverty of his time. In 1887, Robert died in Greensborough, a wealthy and respected pioneer, whose horticultural achievements were awarded many times over.
A combination of biography and social history, Robert’s story explores the Chartist movement, migration on the troubled ship Georgiana, surviving in the infant town of Melbourne in 1841, working on John Batman’s garden and developing his own prosperous gardens in Greensborough. There are riots, bushrangers, horse racing, the Black Thursday bushfires, the Victorian gold rush, fraud and a life-changing murder.
Robert’s horticultural passion motivated his life. He developed new fruit varieties and participated in many exhibitions. As a committee member of the Horticultural Society of Victoria from 1859 to 1871, Robert worked with his peers to create the Burnley Gardens of Richmond, run local exhibitions and manage the horticultural sections of the enormous intercolonial and international exhibitions which took place during the mid to late 1800s in Melbourne.