Accounts book used by John Lawrey from December 1908 to 3rd April 1930 which covers his various businesses including being a nurseryman, and an agent for Mt Lyell Mining & Railway Co Ltd and the Commonwealth Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd. The entries list the names of customers from the Kinglake area, the various products sold, prices and weight. Interspersed among the pages are pieces of paper relating to his businesses: envelopes, receipts, promissory notes, accounts etc., including personal notes.

The accounts book also includes a leaflet advertising Lawrey's nursery business: 'Fruit Trees etc. Grown for Sale by John Lawrey & Sons'. It lists the varieties of Apples (20), Apricots (3), Cherries (6), Peaches (8), Pears (12), Plums (8), Japanese Plums (4) available for sale, as well as Gooseberries, Currants, Raspberries, Strawberries and Seed Potatoes, and states that he had a Government Certificate. On the reverse of this sheet are handwritten notes in pencil and ink, one being an account and one a short letter requesting payment, overwritten in ink with figures written in ink.

The enclosed papers include a price list for the Commonwealth Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd for the 1929-30 season. The fertiliser price sheet lists 21 varieties with prices per ton and cwt (hundredweight) and chemical analysis. Recommendations for use of individual chemicals are shown and other chemicals, including one for rabbit destruction can be priced on application.

John and Elizabeth Lawrey were early settlers to the Kinglake area and built 'The Uplands' homestead in the late 1890s. 'The Uplands' was well known locally and was often used by the Kinglake community as a meeting place for special events, celebrations and sporting activities.The house was one of two on this site on the Whittlesea-Kinglake Road in Kinglake that were destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfires on 7 February 2009. The chimney was collected as part of the Victorian Bushfires Collection and installed in the Forest Gallery at Melbourne Museum, to commemorate the history of bushfires in Victoria.

Physical Description

Foolscap book with dark blue/green covered stiff card front and back covers, with dark red cloth seam binding. A label with the figure 2 is adhered to the front cover. Numerous papers, letters and other inserts throughout the book.


This account book offers a detailed insight into the day to day activities of a nurseryman and business man in the first decades of the 20th century. This also offers us important information about the Lawrey family, the locality of Kinglake. The book complements our interpretation of the chimney acquired from 'The Uplands' homestead that was destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. The leaflets provide interesting information about the diversity of fruit cultivars and the early use of chemical fertilisers.

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