GEORGE & SARAH SUTTOR: Pioneers of Early Australian Horticulture

Cover of George & Sarah Suttor
“On my idea of leaving England I was also pleased with the thought that I might be the humble means, (while my native country and all Europe was convulsed with war,) of conveying to this distant British country the vine, the fig, the olive etc.”

As a young man George Suttor dreamed of settling in Australia. In 1798 a fortuitous meeting with Sir Joseph Banks, along with the support of the woman he loved, led to that dream becoming a reality. This book tells the story through George's letters, diaries and memoirs.

After many delays caused by war and near shipwrecks George and Sarah arrived in Sydney in 1800 with plants for the young colony. By 1804 they had established the first nursery in the country, and by 1807 were selling fresh oranges at the Sydney Market.

George, to his own detriment, bravely defended Governor William Bligh during the Rum Rebellion of 1808. He refused to plead in the case against him and was found guilty, sentenced to be "imprisoned six calendar months, and to pay a fine of one shilling". Later, this led him to return to England with Bligh to testify at Major George Johnston's court martial. George was away for two years, and during this time Sarah kept the farm going while also caring for their six young children.

On George's return, he and Sarah faced years of struggle and disappointment, which led them to make the arduous journey across the Blue Mountains in 1822 to settle near Bathurst.

The story follows their journey round Europe in 1839 to study methods of grape growing and wine making. Sarah died in France and George returned to New South Wales, and lived his final years surrounded by many friends and his large family at Alloway Bank near Bathurst.

Throughout the book references are made to particular friends and associates of the Suttors, including George Caley, Allan Cunningham, John Lewin, Colonel William Paterson and Captain John Piper.

The book's 323 pages includes 54 illustrations (colour and black and white), a bibliography, family trees, plant lists, letters, table of contents, and an index. Published in 2015 by Legion Office Works, Castlemaine. © 2015 Margaret Winmill, ISBN: 978-0-9873361-3-2.

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Margaret Winmill is the great-great-great-granddaughter of George and Sarah Suttor. Like George, she has a love of growing and collecting plants, and for many years co-owned a nursery specialising in older varieties of plants in particular apple trees.

All enquiries, or to purchase, please send email to Margaret Winmill.