Alfred Nicholas Gardens-Autumn

Tom Newman

Frankston, Australia

Artist's Description

Alfred Nicholas Gardens, Sherbrooke Victoria, Australia
Nikon D300 : lens 18-200mm ED VR
26mm, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO: 200

When World War I cut off German supplies of acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin, Attorney-General W. M. Hughes, announced that German patents and trade marks would be suspended and then granted to any home-based manufacturer who could meet the required standards of purity. Using kerosene tins and kitchen utensils borrowed from his wife, George set out to react salicylic acid, a white powder, with acetic anhydride, an acrid-smelling liquid. No information existed in Australia and the plant was of the most primitive kind. After much perserverance he made the first Australian acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin, but it was impure. With the help of freelance entrepreneur Henry Woolf Shmith, after many weeks of experimenting he had a batch of pure aspirin. On 12 June 1915, they applied under wartime legislation to take over the trade name ‘Aspirin’ from Bayer. Officialdom ignored their application until Frank Anstey prodded Hughes into having the government analyst test their product. On 17 September Hughes announced that it was absolutely pure, that it contained no free salicylic acid and that in all respects it complied with the requirements of the British Pharmacopoeia. He granted Shmith, Nicholas & Co. a licence to make and sell aspirin in Australia.

Alfred Nicholas purchased this land in 1929 to build his home and then proceeded to buy up surrounding land to add to his estate. The property was soon named ‘Burnham Beeches’.
Alfred Nicholas traveled the streets of outer Melbourne searching for established trees to be purchased for his property. Unfortunately he passed away before the garden was completed, and soon the property began to decline. Mrs Nicholas stayed on the property until the outbreak of the second world war.

After the war the house was handed to their company, the Nicholas Company, which converted it for use as a research laboratory. In 1965 The company decided to donate the gardens to the people of Victoria by way of the local shire council. In 1972, the council handed the garden over to the Victorian State Government.
Location :
Sherbrooke Road, Sherbrooke (off the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road). Melways ref: 75 G1.

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