It says a lot about the importance of the Fletcher Jones gardens to Warrnambool that even though the Raglan Parade factory has fallen silent and into disrepair, the gardens continue to hold on.
“Pleasant Hill” was once a major tourist attraction for the city, with busloads of visitors pulling up to the kerb and pouring out to take photographs, while locals all have their favourite memories of the beautifully landscaped gardens: the fish pond, the stepping stones, the wishing well, the sun-warmed cement turtle, the archways, the mosaic ‘basket’ garden bed, the tall man in the white trousers who advertised Fletcher Jones menswear.
The gardens were established over a period of years after Fletcher Jones first selected the site – a disused quarry – for his factory in 1948. And while they are a shadow of what they were in their prime, when up to eight full-time gardeners were employed, the fact they are maintained at all is quite incredible.
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”] F [/dropcap]or this we can thank our Quiet Heroes for the week: Lex Caldwell, who oversees the gardens in exchange for living in a cottage on site, and a small, rotating team of volunteers who turn up each Tuesday morning to weed, mulch, mow or do whatever else needs to be done.
When we visited, the volunteer crew included Don McLean, Lester Campbell and Philomena Headen who were hard at work weeding one of the garden beds and picking up bits of broken glass.
Imagine how the place would look without them?
[box]The FJ gardens crew will receive a coffee and cake voucher from Lozzar’s Lounge Cafe, 52a Kepler St Warrnambool. Thankyou to owners Loretta and Phil for supporting this week’s Quiet Heroes.[/box]