Yarralumla nursery was established by the Commonwealth Government in 1913 for the propagation of plants to develop the bush capital as a garden city. T.C.G. Weston in charge of the Afforestation Branch of the Department of Home Affairs, approved the site because it was close to the Centre of Canberra and was aesthetically pleasing.
A cottage was built in the grounds to house the nursery manager, John Peace Hobday, who became superintendent of Parks and gardens after Weston left in 1926. His daughter, Joyce Hobday, now of Griffith, lived in the cottage from her birth in 1921 until 1954. Joyce said that at the back of Yarralumla Nursery there had been a big orchard filled with experimental plantings, where they had learnt pruning and spraying techniques. There had been 123 varieties of apples and a large range of peaches, almonds, pears, apricots, plums and persimmons.
Joyce recalls that fruit from the nursery was supplied to Canberra's hospital and hotels. In their home garden all fruit was preserved or made into jam. Two of her mother's favourite recipes using the apple crop came from the 2GZ country service club cookery book (1939).
The cottage was placed on the Register of the National Estate after Doctor Ken Eldridge nominated Yarralumla Nursery for inclusion in 1981. The Landscape Architect Branch of Total Care is restored ,the english woodland below the cottage to its former glory. The landscape contains notable trees, many original Weston plantings from 1920 and an understory created by Jack Moore, brother of Percy.
Peter Sutton, of Cityscape, recalls Jack's garden filled with birds, rhododendrons raised from seed sent from botanical gardens around the world, massed azaleas, zelkovas and tree ferns decked in climbing hydrangeas. An entrance to the garden was built and a plaque placed identifying its origins and Jack Moore.
He said, "history is being re-lived and people have fond memories of the place.
Below is an extract from an article published about the Gallery.
Mr and Mrs Moore lived in the cottage from the mid 1950's to the early 60's when Percy Moore was Chief Nurseryman. He and his wife, Betty, now live in Victoria, and on their Floriade visit to Canberra, they enjoyed an afternoon tea more than once at their former home. Percy Moore said they were "delighted to be a part of the atmosphere. The young staff are energetic and they have a feeling for the place". He showed photographs of the house and garden, with snow where the pond is.
Betty Moore added "it's a perfect thing to have happened; there has been very little change except the window seat at the back, which was the toy box, has gone. So has the huge old apple tree." The crop from it was used in a favourite dish which was the family apple crumbleserved with cream, "clotted if there was any chance" Mrs Moore said.
The Yarralumla Gallery & Oaks Brasserie opened in 1997 when the vision of creating a natural oasis of art and alfresco dining at the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin was pursued.
With refreshingly leafy and light food, the goal is to individually prepare each dish with focus on ingredients and technique and utilising a combination of staff skills.
The bubbly and professional team provides friendly service and is there to ensure that customers leave satisfied.
With manicured lawns, tasty food, professional service and the wonderful ambience created by the park's fauna, this is certainly a perfect venue for a relaxing breakfast or lunch, or a private function.