Historical information

Ernest Anderson (head gardener) and Harry (gardener) worked at Williamstown Botanic Gardens. The Anderson family lived in the curators lodge on the grounds in the 1930s. Horses were used at the gardens until the 1960s when the council bought a truck. Mr Biggs drove as Mr Anderson did not have a licence. He rode his bike to the Town Hall every Friday to put in the time sheets.


The collection is the only known photos of the Gardens working horses and demonstrates Edwardian Municipal gardening techniques that continued into the 1960s. They are photographic evidence of the planting styles, species choices and structures. Details inscribed on the reverse of some of the photos confirm names of staff at this time.
Photo 13 (m) m: Only known photo of Ernest Anderson to be held by the Gardens

Physical description

2013.001.a-l is a collection of 12 small format photographs from the Anderson family album dated from 1917-1936 plus one large image of donor's wedding c1953. Ernest Anderson (head gardener) and Harry (gardener) worked at Williamstown Botanic Gardens. The Anderson family lived in the curators lodge on the grounds in the 1930s.

Photo 1 (a) Sepia photo of young girl (Chic Anderson) on horse with no saddle. Two men, with hands on hips, standing alongside wearing hats. All are on a small hill (a compost heap) with a shrub on the left of the image.

Photo 2 (b) Young girl and horse standing on the top of a small hill (compost heap). Girl has short hair and is wearing a jumper, skirt and long socks. Horse has no saddle and has its head down as if to eat.

Photo 3 (c) Horse and foal standing in a fenced enclosure. Part of yard is paved. Horse has a white blaze and white feet. Foal has white blaze and white legs and is looking up at the horse.

Photo 4 (d) Horse pulling a mower. Two men standing with mower. One is holding mower, the other the reins of the horse. Both men are wearing hats, with one wearing a vest. Horse has hessian wrapping on his hooves.

Photo 5 (e) Horse and man. Horse has a rope bridle. Man holding bridle and is dressed in trousers, shirt, cardigan and hat. They are in front of a hedge and closed timber gate. Tall palm is in background. Horse is side on to the camera.

Photo 6 (f) Man and horse standing in front of hedge and open timber gate. Palms in background. Man wearing trousers, shirt, vest, tie, hat. Trousers look to be tucked into boots. He is looking at the horse. The horse is facing the camera.

Photo 7 (g) Three horses looking over a picket fence. All with a white blaze. There is a timber wall with a window to the right of the photograph. A man’s arm holding something is seen on the right of the photo.

Photo 8 (h) Large palm tree, understorey of shrubs with two palms in the background.

Photo 9 (i) Scene of the Gardens. Path dividing at a conifer tree. Woman in long skirt and hat looking up at the conifer. Different varieties of palm trees with understorey of shrubs.

Photo 10 (j) Garden bed of Dahlias surrounded by a wire fence. Palms and other trees in background.

Photo 11 (k) Avenue of tall palm trees with under storey of shrubs. Photo has angles cut at top corners and two large crease marks at the bottom right hand corner.

Photo 12 (l) Set of cast iron gates – double carriage gates with single pedestrian gates on either side and supported by four cast iron posts with ornamental finials on top.

Photo 13 (m) Ernest Anderson and daughter Chic prior to her wedding. Ernest is holding his gloves in his left hand and Chic’s hand with his right. Palms trees in the background.

Inscriptions & markings

Photo 1 (a) 'Ern & Harry / May 8th 1936'
Photo 2 (b) ‘Jack aged 36 / Chic 5 years / (unclear) 1936’
Photo 3 (c) ‘foal born in / back shed’
Photo 4 (d) ‘The Olde Firm / Jack Ernie Harry / 1917’
Photo 6 (f ) ‘Before the / council provided / a truck all / work was done / with the horses’
Photo 7 (g) ‘our work horses’
Photo 9 (i) ‘Panoramic view of Gardens / looking South from Lodge / Wms Town Botanical Gardens / 15-10-17’
Photo 12 (l) ‘Gates Public Gardens’