Photo of the Week
James Overall's garden store in Zeehan. This two storey brick premises on Main Street was completed in 1900. The photo was taken by Claude Stutterd in 1902. James Overall can be seen standing in front of the store with his two sons, Hubert James (1889-1984) and Charles Rumley Overall (1894-1991). The woman at far right on the balcony is James Overall's wife, Emily Sarah Rumley (1859-1938). Standing alongside her are her parents, George Thomas Rumley and Jane Pidgeon. The girl standing at left on the balcony is Ivy Claris Rumley Overall (1892-1976). Their fourth child, Doris Sarah Rumley Overall (1903-1986) was not yet born.
About James Overall
Information on this gardening pioneer is scant at best. Born in Cambridgeshire in 1862, James Overall was the son of an agricultural labourer of the same name and Sarah Butcher. He was the second youngest of eight children, two of whom also immigrated to Australia. 
James Overall is an English horticulturist who apprenticed to several well-known nurseries in England, one of which was Veitch’s Royal Exotic Nursery on Kings Road in Chelsea. It was probably in this nursery that the idea of travel to Australia began to take shape.
After coming to Tasmania in 1887, he managed Arundel, a farm situated in the Macquarie Plains. The farm was owned by mining speculator, Vernon William Hookey. 
In the following year, James married Emily Sarah Rumley, the eldest daughter of overseer at the Bushy Park estate, George Thomas Rumley, and his wife, Jane Pidgeon.
When the owner of the Arundel estate died from typhoid in September 1889, James and his young family moved to Zeehan.
Employed on the Zeehan and Dundas Herald for two years, he then established the first gardens in Zeehan comprising vegetables, small fruits and flowers. In 1897, he left his mark when he donated 60 pine trees to the Zeehan Cemetery Trust to make an avenue leading up to the cemetery’s main entrance.
The fast developing mining areas opened up new fields for botanical study and James began collecting specimens of the unique West Coast flora, sending plants and seeds all over the world. James is credited with pioneering the Australian sphagnum moss trade, exporting the first consignment from Zeehan in 1906. 
In 1908, the Overall family moved to Sulphur Creek where they established what was to become one of Tasmania’s largest wholesale nurseries, Darwin Nursery. Starting out with five acres of land, the business expanded rapidly that by 1936, the Darwin Nursery covered an area of more than 50 acres with 38 acres under cultivation. The average number of hands employed by the nursery at this time was eighteen.
In 1926, when the renowned long distance aviator, Alan Cobham, came to Australia, James Overall attempted to get a plant taken back to England by air.
The plant, Anemone Crassfolia, which was obtained from the summit of Mount Zeehan, was specially packed in moss to maintain moisture. The package was addressed to Professor Smith, curator of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.
Unfortunately, the aviator left the plant in a bathroom in Darwin. A note from the aviator conveyed his personal regret at his forgetfulness. Had this mission succeeded, James would’ve been the first to send a living plant by air to Britain.
In 1936, James and his youngest daughter went on a ten month trip to England and the Netherlands. It was James’ first visit to the old country in nearly 50 years.
During visits to the Royal Kew Gardens and the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh, James noticed many Tasmanian native plants, which he had sent as gifts to England. In return, these nurseries gave James many plants to bring back to Tasmania.
It is noteworthy to mention that during the trip to the Netherlands, a tulip was named after James’ daughter in honour of their visit. This tulip, named Dorrie Overall, was first brought to Australia in 1948.  Earlier in the year, before she received the consignment of tulips, Doris received a visit from a Dutch nursery representative, P C Storm. The representative and his wife stayed with Doris and her husband at Wynyard. 
After James’ death in 1946, the Darwin Nursery continued as a family business until it was sold in 1976.
Anyone wishing to research further any aspects of James Overall’s life should contact the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. They have a collection of images, correspondence and catalogues donated by the family in 2004.
 James’ eldest brother, William Brand Overall, went on to establish a nursery in Warburton, Victoria. The next eldest brother, Joseph Thomas Overall, went to live in Sydney.
 James arrived in Hobart onboard the steamer Tiverton on 17 July 1887. The steamer left London on 24 May 1887. A great deal of rough weather was experienced during the trip and on two occasions the steamer was hove to until the hurricane had abated. On one occasion the port cabin windows were broken and the occupants flooded out.
 Ann Cripps, Gardens and Gardeners in the Companion to Tasmanian History, Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, 2005
 Dorrie Enden (nee Overall) received a gift consignment of 100 tulips.
 The Dutch company, Segers Bros, are based in the tulip growing field in Lisse.
Clockwise from top left: (1) Zeehan Municipal Council in 1908 with James Overall seated at far right; (2) the Dorrie Overall tulip; (3) the Veitch Garden Nursery where James Overall completed his apprenticeship; and (4) a view showing portion of the Darwin Nursery with hedges surrounding and bisecting the property to provide a necessary breakwind to protect flowers and shrubs.
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