Historical information

Gordon Ford was a conservationist and a pioneer of natural-style landscaping. He came to Eltham in 1948 and bought a block of land in John Street extending through to Pitt Street. Artist Peter Glass lived opposite in John Street.

Early on, Gordon worked for Alistair Knox on construction of the mudbrick Busst house amongst others. At the same time, with the help of friends including artist Clifton Pugh, he progressively built his own house ‘Fülling’, which "grew like Topsy" utilising a variety of second-hand materials.

His main focus, which became his life-long occupation, was garden landscaping. Inspired by Edna Walling and Ellis Stones, he sought to reflect the bush settings of rural Victoria where he had grown up. Commissions included Monash University and countless industrial sites but designing for the archetypal quarter-acre block gave him the most satisfaction. He had a huge impact on the look of gardens in Australia from the 1950s, creating seemingly natural bush environments by carefully integrating indigenous and exotic plantings.

Gordon died in 1999 and is buried in Eltham Cemetery; the gravesite in a natural landscape setting is marked by a plaque. Another plaque (away from his grave) notes his landscaping design work within the cemetery grounds and at Alistair Knox Park.

Gordon Craig Ford
30-8-1918 - 16-6-1999
Landscape designer
Loved and respected
Husband of Gwen, father
Of Angela, Emma, Ben,
Cassie, Dailan, Caitlin.

A good life lived well

Published: Nillumbik Now and Then /​ Marguerite Marshall 2008; photographs Alan King with Marguerite Marshall.; p55


This collection of almost 130 photos about places and people within the Shire of Nillumbik, an urban and rural municipality in Melbourne's north, contributes to an understanding of the history of the Shire. Published in 2008 immediately prior to the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7, 2009, it documents sites that were impacted, and in some cases destroyed by the fires. It includes photographs taken especially for the publication, creating a unique time capsule representing the Shire in the early 21st century. It remains the most recent comprehenesive publication devoted to the Shire's history connecting local residents to the past.

Physical description

Born digital image file