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Macquarie Towns Garden Club – Treasure Hunt

Louise Johnson of Macquarie Towns Garden Club has been on an unusual year-long adventure, on a quest to establish the age of the Club. Turns out it is VERY old: 130 years old! Most Sydney Clubs don’t even get close for longevity!

In her book Macquarie Towns Garden Club – A Guide to its History and Formation, Mrs Johnson describes the Trove (National Library) searches that helped back-track her way into the history of the Hawkesbury, and her discovery that the first General Meeting was held on 1 st May, 1894, under its then-name Richmond Horticultural Society.

The book touches lightly on the social history of the area, and covers the impact of war and pandemics, including the so-called Spanish flu of 1918/1919. The newspaper clippings show a seemingly continuous cycle of ‘droughts and flooding rains‘ that the Hawkesbury continues to experience, with huge impacts on local agriculture, and in consequence, the Spring and Autumn Flower Shows which the Society inaugurated and which soon became an important part of the district’s social calendar, especially in the late 1890s.

Author Louise Johnson With Her Book Macquarie Towns Garden Club – Treasure HuntMrs Johnson also uncovered some interesting tidbits, such as the Horticultural Society having an interest in the state of Richmond Park during 1955. After receiving their letter, the Council assured the Society that “areas under the trees in the Park would be mown more often”.

Another incident: it appears there was a flurry of activity in 1934 when the past- President resigned after the Governor’s wife was unable to open the Spring Show, but later offered to be reinstated when the Governor’s wife suddenly became available.

Sadly, it appears that no one wished to take him up on his offer, and as a result he later withdrew sponsorship of prizes for the Show. The Club finally became known as Macquarie Towns Garden Club in 1998. It now meets on the first Thursday of the month in the Tebbutt Room at Windsor Library. For a copy of the book ($20) and any enquiries, phone 4575 3858. Visit the website

For more information, Jill Storrie 0400 225 009; email [email protected]

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