The forebears of the Humphris family emigrated to Australia more than a century ago – John and Sarah Bennett from Suffolk and Allen and Maria Hines from Cambridgeshire. Allen was a gardener in England and brought his trade with him.

His daughter Elizabeth followed in her father’s footsteps and when she married Sidney Bennett, they settled in Mont Victor Road, Kew in 1854 and began growing vegetables and flowers. One of their children was Ern Bennett, born in 1879.

Ern married Julia Spencer in 1897 and moved on to the Mont Victor Road property and established their own business – Bennett’s Nursery – which adjoined Rimington’s Nursery.

1900

Bennett's Nursery

They concentrated on cut flowers and Ern also began growing camellias, which he imported from England, because he believed they would be good for wreath work. They, like many other growers, sold their flowers on the roadside in Richmond. Ern and Julia had three children; Winnifred born in 1901 and two sons, Bill and George. When the children were older, Win was given a property in Warrandyte, Bill got land in Mooroolbark and George received the land on which Humphris Nursery now exists. It was then an orchard which George ploughed in so he could grow flowers.

Camellia Japonica

The camellias were dug up in 1929 and brought to Mooroolbark by horse and cart to be replanted down the drive of  George’s property. Winnifred married and settled at Warrandyte with her husband Ern Humphris Sr., and bought George’s Mooroolbark property in 1947 when he moved to Metung. Winnifred’s son Ern married Gwenda West and they moved to Mooroolbark in 1950. They worked the flower farm together and continued growing camellias and a range of other plants.

ERN HUMPHRIS

Gwenda Humphris

Ern sold their flowers at the Queen Vic market and then the new Footscray Road market three times a week – it was a hard battle with no electricity and only the horse and plough to work the land. As time went by, cut flowers became a smaller part of their production and the introduction of plastic pots changed the industry completely.

Ern and Gwenda with cut flowers ready to sell

The chev truck on it's way to sell cut flowers at vic market

Ern and Gwenda planting lavendar at mooroolbark

Ern and Gwen had two children – Karen in 1964 and Barry in 1972. Ern died in 1983 when Barry was only 11. Many in the industry questioned whether a woman and two children could run an eight hectare farm full of flowers and plants and the family itself wondered which direction to take. Taking the bull by the horns, they ploughed in the flowers and have never looked back.

GWEN, BARRY & KAREN HUMPHRIS

Gwen encouraged the younger generation to move ahead and continue to build the business. One of the forward thinking moves made was to install a water recycling and treatment system. At the time only a handful of other nurseries in Victoria were using recycled water. In 1995, Humphris Nursery became an Accredited Nursery of the Nursery Industry Association of Victoria.

Work on the dam to capture, filter and recycle water

In 2004 Humphris purchased Mt Evelyn Garden Centre. Humphris supplied it’s own Camellias, Conifers, Grafted Gums, Buxus, and Edibles and a wide range of general lines, complimenting the seedlings, pots, palms, flowering shrubs and ground covers for sale . In recent years an old Melbourne tram was purchased and converted to a cafe in the grounds of the Nursery.

2004

MT EVELYN GARDEN CENTRE MANAGER MAT PARKER

2013

In 2013 Humphris purchased a growing site at Gruyere in the Yarra Valley.

humphris gruyere

GRUYERE SITE

2015

In 2015 Humphris installed a purpose built Cravo Retractable Roof greenhouse. The retractable roof house is designed to withstand the extremes of heat, cold, hail, snow, wind, and rain. The Cravo retractable roof system allows crops to benefit from being grown in the natural outdoors, a greenhouse and a shadehouse while eliminating the negatives of each.

Cravo greenhouse technology at Mooroolbark

2018

In 2018 Humphris purchased a growing site at Yellingbo in the Yarra Valley.

humphris yellingbo

YELLINGBO SITE

2020

In 2020 Humphris built a specialised greenhouse at Woori Yallock to grow indoor plants. The design is energy efficient using a  double horizontal energy saving and sun protecting screen system. This  cools the greenhouse during warm outside temperatures and offers isolation to keep the warmth inside the greenhouse during cold outside conditions. It’s double ridged venting, fogging systems, heating and fans, are all controlled by Priva compass using a tablet or phone. There are one kilometre of conveyor belts and side shifting ebb and flow benches which allows potting and dispatch to happen simultaneously anywhere at any time.

Indoor greenhouse at Woori Yallock

Today, Humphris Nursery is located on 20 hectares in Mooroolbark, as well as 85 hectares of production growing sites throughout the regional Yarra Ranges region in Gruyere, Yellingbo and Woori Yallock, Victoria.

2023

humphris mooroolbark

Humphris Headquarters at Mooroolbark

2024

Tissue Culture lab at Mooroolbark

Humphris is committed to remaining  at the forefront of growth amidst dynamic environmental and market conditions.

Over the past few years, the company has acquired and developed more land, upgraded existing facilities, expanded our workforce and implemented new systems and automation, to improve production outputs.

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