A DVD produced by the ABC tells the story of the re-interpretation of the garden and can be viewed by visitors to Villa Alba.
The garden as seen today results from Dr. James Broadbent’s horticultural knowledge and his analysis of the detailed research by Mrs. Jessie Serle; the compilation by Adshead & McQuie of information in surveyor’s field notebooks from 1894 and 1911; archaeology by Maddy Atkinson and family photographs belonging to Fripp family descendants.
Broadbent’s research has confirmed the original outlines of garden beds and the location of the now vanished summer house, pergola and fernery. Only one plant is thought to have survived from Greenlaw’s time: a now coppiced fig tree adjacent to the retaining wall near the NW corner of Villa Alba.
The rebuilding and planting of the landscape, using material selected by Dr. Broadbent from 19th century nurserymen’s catalogues and other records, has been carried out by Eagles Contracting. The public has also generously helped with sourcing hard-to-find plants.
The discovery of an original wooden garden tile resulted in the reproduction of sufficient tiles to edge the garden beds. This project is being generously supported by members of the public who purchase tiles for placement in Villa Alba’s garden.
As the garden continues to grow and take on the form of its predecessor in the late 19th century, it provides an elegant setting appropriate to this significant building and is a fitting reminder of the great contribution of Sir Rupert Hamer to the cultural life of Victoria.
Based on notes by James Broadbent
Landscape Naming Ceremony
On Sunday 6 of February 2005 at 3pm in the presence of Villa Alba’s Patron, Lady Hamer, OAM, long-time supporters of Villa Alba joined distinguished guests including garden designer Dr. James Broadbent and members of the public as Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, AC DBE, named Villa Alba’s restored landscape in honour of Sir R.J. Hamer in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Villa Alba as inaugural Chairman and Patron.
The landscape is now known as The R.J. Hamer Heritage Garden.