Friday, April 18, 2014

"One of the nicest gardens in the Wimmera"

Try to imagine this photo in colour!

James Pilgrim's Garden at Winiam
Unknown child

In 1888 Alexander Sutherland wrote in the Book Victoria and its Metropolis about  "The People of Victoria, who are making a difference"

"Pilgrim , James, Winiam , was born in Essex, England, and was apprenticed
to the trade of stonemason , but meeting with an accident had to give
it up and took to gardening and farming . Coming out to Melbourne in 1862,
he tried digging at Castlemaine for four months, after which he went to
Adelaide and followed gardening and farming for four years. He carried on
farming operations on his own account at Cockatoo Valley for seven years
and at Wasley's for a similar period. Returning to Victoria in 1882 he
selected 320 acres of land in the parish of Winiam, where he has also purchased
35 acres ; he crops 200 acres and has an average yield of wheat of 12
bushels to the acre. Mr. Pilgrim, who has had charge of the Winiam
post-office for some time , has one of the nicest gardens in the Wimmera,
 fruit trees, grape vines and flowers growing luxuriantly".

James Pilgrim (kneeling in centre) and family member in the orchard at WIniam.
Unfortunately, the photo above is not good enough quality to positively identify each individual pictured.  My Great Great Grandfather, James Pilgrim, settled at Winiam in 1882 and notes indicate that it took five years to clear the land and prepare the orchard.  The trees look quite young so I would guesstimate that this photo was taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s.

1904 Country Directory
James Pilgrim and his two eldest sons (twins Bob & Bert, who were 21) were listed

Every generation since James has had a "greenthumb" but I didn't inherit that gene!

Click for more Sepia Saturday posts

You can read more about James Pilgrim here and here


  1. How lovely to have one's garden and talent recognized.

  2. 'Green thumbs' certainly come in handy if you're going to be a farmer! That is nice that your great great grandfather was recognized for his lovely garden, & that family members followed the tradition. Too bad you don't have the genetic 'green thumb', but - oh well.

  3. I think the clothing of the woman on the right in the orchard photo, with the long white sleeves, dates it a little later, perhaps around or shortly after the turn of the century. The style of the photo, i.e. the type of print, might provide additional clues as to date.

  4. To create a garden like that in that area of Victoria is quite credit to his gardening skills, nice to have the old photos to remember it by. What is left of it now?

  5. James certainly was a good gardener and a hard worker!

  6. I have great admiration for people who have the talent to produce food from the efforts of their own hands.. A most interesting post,

  7. There are quite a few people with the "Pilgrim" name in the directory. I wonder whether more are related to James.

  8. That does look like a lovely garden with the little unknown girl sitting in it.

  9. I like the description "flowers growing luxuriantly", a bit of praise that must have made James proud to read,

  10. Pilgrim is such a fantastic surname!

  11. It's so funny, but even in black and white I can see the color! There was a grey colored piece of pottery hanging in a museum of the American Flag, and just as the description read, we could see the true colors before our eyes even before we read about what our mind does!

  12. Ah yes, but you are right, colour would bring the garden to life! How fortunate in some ways that an accident led to him taking up gardening and providing us with an interesting post.

  13. I live on land where the great botanist Luther Burbank once walked. It's an old orchard with full grown trees. It is fascinating to see your photo with such a young orchard.