The Eastcott orchard at Tarneit arose from the efforts of William Fred Salmon in the early 1890s, building on an earlier unsuccessful effort with the Chaffey Brothers to establish an irrigation settlement. Salmon’s creation was described by the Werribee Shire Banner in 1908 as ‘one of the most interesting garden orchards in Victoria’.
According to the same article, Salmon had planted three acres of peaches in 1893, which in the fifteen years between then and its coverage in the Banner, had expanded to over 40 acres of various trees ‘now to be seen in a rich dressing of fruit blossom’.
Alongside the original peach plantations could now be found apricots and apples, with vegetables growing between the fruit tree rows. Salmon – a Queen St accountant - was also making very good returns on asparagus grown by the river, with the property now boasting loquats and chestnut trees as well.
Eventually, the demands of the Eastcott orchard were handed over to a Mr Richard Edwards, so that Salmon could attend to ‘business interests which demand his attention elsewhere’. Edwards expanded upon Eastcott, and by 1929 the property covered almost 200 acres producing apricots, peaches, plums, apples and quinces that serviced the greater Melbourne market.
So, if ever you’ve wondered how your street name or our Stage Releases connect to the ground at your feet, now you know - Orchard has always been a place to grow!