Christmas Bush Collecting In The 1800s

The 2 illustrations presented here are the work of Arthur Collingridge.He was a Painter and Illustrator (1879-1901) of Australian Scenes. Arthur was a founding member of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales, along with brother George Collingridge.

Christmas bush 1

‘Christmas Bushes’, the first image appeared in The Sydney Mail (NSW1871-1912) December 23,1882. Accompanied by a Francis Myer’s poem  Christmas Bushes -A Reverie . . . here is a brief extract:

The dear old Christmas bushes
With rose tips for the time,
When the Christmas bells are ringing
In the summer’s golden prime.
The long blue mist-wreathed vistas
In the evening’s dying gleam,
And the Christmas bushes trailing
Along the shining stream…

Christmas bush 2

‘Christmas Bush’, the second image appeared in The Illustrated Sydney News Christmas Issue on December 25,1886.

Clearly Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum) has always been very popular and ‘is at this season of the year in glorious blossom’.


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One thought on “Christmas Bush Collecting In The 1800s

  1. maryjoe7 says:

    These historically important images clearly demonstrate the decimation of wild flowers in the Sydney district that took place particularly during the period c1890 to 1950. In the latter part of the 19 th century the Hawkesbury district was visited by large numbers of commercial Christmas Bush gathers.Berowra Creek was a particularly popular site.The flowers were sold in the Sydney markets.
    It was the practice of the gathers to cut the trees down to facilitate harvesting and so killing the trees in vast numbers.
    Prior to this practice the area during December was ablaze with the colour of the trees.A sight we unfortunately will never see.

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