What Is Alfred Nicholas Gardens?
Picturesque waterfalls, native and exotic trees, an ornamental lake with a traditional boatbouse, Alfred Nicholas Gardens is a heavenly retreat in Sherbrooke, on the Eastern Edge of Melbourne. Its varied array of plants and shrubbery makes it a vibrant and colourful place the whole year through.
It is a popular spot for picnics, walks and particularly birdwatching. Expect to find king parrots, bright-feathered rosellas, ducks and kookaburras amidst its waters and its branches.
The History Of Alfred Nicholas Gardens
The gardens were built in 1929 as part of Alfred Nicholas' Burnham Beeches Estate. It was designed by Cornish Landscaper Percival Trevaskis, and filled with a wide range of plants, some of which Alfred had purchased at Chelsea Flower Show that same year.
Next to it, on the estate, a 3-storey Art Deco mansion was built to serve as the Nicholas family home. Alfred lived here until his death in 1937. In 1941 it was used as a war time children's hospital. Nicholas' widow and kids moved away from the estate in 1954. It was then used as a research facility. The gardens were donated to the Shire of Sherbrooke in 1965.
Who was Alfred Nicholas?
Born in 1881, Alfred began his career as a grocer, before entering into the pharmaceutical business with his younger brother, George.
During WW1, in 1915, German-made patents and trademarks were made redundant, meaning goods formerly sold exclusively by German companies could be made and sold by anyone who could reproduce them at a high enough quality. One such German good was aspirin.
A qualified pharmacist, George Nicholas leapt at this opportunity. He created his own version of aspirin and, alongside Alfred, started selling it under the name 'Aspro'.
The brothers went on to have some success, selling their product all across the world before going public in 1935 and diversifying their range of goods.
Alfred was committed to the business but also made time for other interests. Chief among these was horticulture. He established several gardens across the country, including ones in Cambrea, Auburn and of course Burnham Beeches.
Visiting Alfred Nicholas Gardens
The gardens are free to visit and are open between 10am-5pm everyday, except Christmas Day. In extreme weather conditions they are liable to close.
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Melbourne Scavenger Hunts - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of Melbourne and beyond!
Read more about hidden gardens with fascinating stories to tell in our posts on London's St Dunstan-in-the-East, NYC's Vale of Cashmere and Manchester's Fletcher Moss Park.