History of Chandlers Nursery


In 1855 William Chandler (1835-1915) immigrated to Van Diemen’s

Land from Middlesex, England. He had been working at a nursery

in Enfield north of London so it was natural for him to follow this

tradition when he arrived. At first he worked as a gardener at

Mona Vale in Tasmania’s Midlands and following a move to what

was then Hobart Town he gained employment as a gardener at

Government House and eventually becoming head gardener.


His eldest son William Charles Chandler (1863-1944) gained an

apprenticeship at the Hobart Botanical Gardens and at the age

of 25 years in 1888 established Chandlers Nursery in Park Street,

New Town. Several years later he leased a neglected orchard in

Queen Street, Sandy Bay and moved the nursery to its present site.

William had three sons all of whom joined the nursery when they left

school. William Charles ( Bill ), (1895-1978), who managed the business from 1924, Harold Cecil (1900-1991) who left the business and in 1937 became the first superintendent of the Forestry Commission Nursery in Perth (Tas) and Albert Percival, (Percy), (1902-1990) who managed the propagating side of the business.


Between 1899 and 1953 the nursery maintained a city shop in Liverpool Street, Hobart, selling plants, seeds and cut flowers.

During the 1930’s depression adjoining land was purchased to increase the size of the Queen Street nursery and in 1935 land was also purchased at Kingston south of Hobart where the soil was perfect for field growing of Rhododendrons, Camellias, Hydrangeas, Boronia and Erica.

When Percy’s son, another William Charles Chandler (1923-1944),

left school he too commenced work at the nursery while also studying

botany part time at the Tasmanian University. Following the outbreak

of the Second World War he joined the RAAF in 1942 and was eventually

posted to England and sadly did not return from a bombing raid over

Europe in May 1944.


Bill’s son Edward Charles Chandler (Ted), (1927-2011) commenced work at the nursery in 1945. His desire was to become a draughtsman however with work being scarce following the war his father ordered him to work at the nursery. There he stayed for the next 65 years and still visiting the nursery daily following his retirement. A highlight for Bill was receiving the Australian Nurseryman’s Award of Merit in 1977.


Ted’s son Gregg now runs the business and today Chandlers Nursery

is one of Australia’s oldest nurseries still in original family ownership.



The original site in Queen Street.

William Charles Chandler (1863-1944)

Albert Percival Chandler


Cutting the cake for the centenary of Chandlers Nursery (1988).

William Charles Chandler (1863-1944)

William Charles Chandler (1895-1978)

Edward Charles Chandler (1927-2011)

Chandlers Nursery - 75 Queen St Sandy Bay | Phone 03 62 235 688 | Fax 03 62 241 161