History of the Garden

Our garden oasis

Welcome

Your hosts, Jan and Vic Williams, warmly welcome you to The Singing Gardens where you will find a peaceful garden oasis of predominantly rhododendrons, azaleas and other European trees and shrubs just waiting for you to discover them!

A bit of history

The garden is the former home of poet laureate C.J. Dennis who originally purchased the property in 1915. After marrying in 1917 his wife Olive, who was more often affectionately referred to as Biddy, set about making the former Mill House and surrounds into a home and garden. With Bibby focussing on the property this left C.J. Dennis to focus primarily on his craft. He spent many years here writing and the garden and it’s inhabitants directly inspired his final book “The Singing Garden” published in 1935.

After C.J.’s death in 1938 Biddy sold the property which was purchased as a weekend retreat by Olive Thring the wife of F.W. Thring Snr (dec. 1936). Olive often sent a young Frank Thring Jnr. to Toolangi to spend his weekends and school holidays there; some would say causing mischief. Rumour has it Frank Thring Jnr. was not too fond of the property and although he inherited it on his Mother’s passing, it was sold off and finally purchased by Jan and Vic in 1969.

Jan and Vic have maintained Biddy’s original garden design and to this day you can still see some of the original trees and shrubs as planted by Biddy and C.J. Dennis. For a more complete history of the property and a few interesting stories along the way, why not treat yourself to a Garden Tour hosted by Jan!