Historic Australian Camellias

by Ann Marks

 I have been preparing a list of all Australian Registrations. What, on the face of it, might be seen to be a boring task has been a fascinating look back into the history of our chosen flower and the great names of those responsible for its development.

 The first Australian camellia registration was of h. ‘Margaret Waterhouse’, Registration No.1, in 1955. At the time of writing we are up to No. 552 and between these numbers lies so much camellia history. Some notable Australian camellias, however, are missing from our Australian records even though they are listed in the Camellia Nomenclature and ICS Register. Most commonly this appears to have happened because they were originated prior to 1955, but sometimes it seems those raising their blooms just “didn’t get around to it” or perhaps failed to appreciate the potential quality and popularity of their flowers.

The following is an incomplete list of such cultivars and we would welcome suggestions as to other camellias which could be included. Most have photos available in the gallery below.

Alexander Black – originated in Victoria in 1889.

Aspasia Macarthur – a seedling grown at Camden Park NSW and first mentioned by the Botanical Society of NSW in 1848. This famous camellia has given rise to sports in Australia, New Zealand and USA. The Australian sports Can Can, Just Sue and Margaret Davis have been registered but not Lady Loch and the rare Camden Park.

j. ‘Brushfield’s Yellow’ – originated by Keith Brushfield of Somersby, New South Wales.

j. ‘Dorothy Jessep’ – grown in the Royal Botanic Gardens in 1949.

j. ‘Edith Linton’ – grown by Alexander Hunter at Camellia Grove in 1941- a sport of Jean Lyne.

j. ‘Jean Lyne’ – raised at Camellia Grove presumably at some time prior to 1941 and later transferred to the garden of G. C. Linton. j. ‘Nancy Bird’ – a sport of Jean Lyne – 1952.

j. ‘Great Eastern’ – mentioned in 1872 and thought to be a seedling of Chanderli. It may have originated in Camden Park.

Lady Loch – one of the Australian sports of Aspasia Macarthur mentioned in 1879. This flower was also known as Duchess of York and Elizabeth of Glamis reflecting the love of camellias of the late Queen Mother.

j. ‘Lady St Clair’ – originated in NSW in 1879.

j. ‘Paul Jones’ – recorded in NSW in 1949. j. ‘Paul Jones Supreme’ – a seedling of the above raised by E. G. Waterhouse in 1958.

j. ‘Prince Frederick William’ – appeared in NSW in 1872.

j. ‘Spencer’s Pink’ – this plant was sold to Mrs. Weymouth of Ferntree Gully, Victoria in 1908. Subsequently the property was sold to Sir Baldwin Spencer in 1922 after which it was named when its earlier name Pink Czar was deemed inappropriate.

The Czar – 1913, grown in the garden of Neil Breslin in East Camberwell, Victoria and later transferred to the Royal Botanic Gardens where it still grows. It has two registered sports j. ‘Hugh Kennedy’ and j. ‘Fiona Capp’.

The Czar Variegated – a virus variegated form of The Czar grown at Camellia Lodge Nursery in 1959.

j. ‘William Bull’ – appeared in Australian in 1878 there being no record as to where.