Dedication to Darby

Leslie Darby Boucher was Fletcher Jones brother-in-law and he began work on the gardens in 1949 - the year after the opening of the factory.  There were 5 acres of quarries, boxthorn and rubbish to contend with. Darby was a miner and knew about explosives and that's how he started out - by blasting the quarry holes and filling them with old cars and tanks and loads of beach sand. Apparently Darby was very enthusiastic about the job! Tag Walter, the famous Warrnambool architect who Fletcher commissioned to put a facade on the war surplus buildings moved on site, gave "artistic" help for the garden design. Darby and his wife according to Fletcher "had green fingers!"  

While the gardens are dedicated to Darby Boucher, the gardeners that followed him continued to build on the garden's features and enhance their reputation as an outstanding example of an industrial and private garden.  The beauty and ordered, manicured perfection of the gardens delighted, inspired and in many ways set the standard for suburban gardeners of the 50s and 60s.  

Dedication of the gardens to Darby Boucher.  Photo:Valmae Bell
Darby Boucher with a bowling ball - perhaps that's why the FJ lawns always looked like a bowling green!  Photo: Jones Family Collection
The gardens required a great deal of maintenance for their manicured perfection. Pictured are some of the crew in the 70's. L-R Winston Hinkley, Shane Craig, Barry Kelly, Barry O'Connor, Damian Ryan and Stan Crow.  Photo: Stan Crow
Stan Crowe receiving an award for the FJ Gardens in 1979.  Stan was the curator at the gardens for many years following Darby's death.    Photo: Stan Crowe

Become a Part of the Fletcher Jones Story.

If you would like to share images, stories or anecdotes about Fletcher Jones, the man or the business, please contact the Project Coordinator, Julie Eagles, through this website or contact via the Save the Silver Ball and Fletcher’s Gardens Facebook Page.  

We'd also love your feedback about our website and your favourite stories.  You can also let us know if you think we've got anything wrong, misspelt or left out.