The History of Howeia

(page 3)

By the 1880's, a well-organised industry had developed on the island with the residents harvesting the seeds and sending them to Europe directly or via agents in Sydney, Australia.

The seeds were in such high demand however, and in such short supply, that one Belgian horticulturist decided to travel to Lord Howe Island personally to try to secure a supply for his family nursery. He was August de Clercq, from Gent (see photo next page), the great grandfather of the present nursery owner. He left Antwerp on 25th Sept. 1898 for the eight-week sea voyage and soon became the first European nurseryman to base his business solely on these palms.

His grandson Phillip, the present nursery owner, had visited Lord Howe Island in 1984 bringing an album of family photographs showing his grandfather and the early nursery. These were taken almost a century ago. When Henk invited me to Holland, I remembered these photographs, and arranged a visit to the de Clercq home to research early records and (with Phillip's permission) to copy the old photographs.

I found much of interest relating to the early days of the industry and spent several hours sifting through it. Coming from Australia, I had no idea the European summers could be so hot, and I had brought only warm clothes. Thus, I found myself on this summer's afternoon sweltering in the attic office in long trousers and thick shirt - it was hot work! Downstairs, while cooling off, I talked with Phillip's father, who had many interesting stories to repeat, handed down from his father who had travelled to Lord Howe island so many years ago.

continued on [next page]   [previous page]   [top]   [index]


  24-03-23 - 19:07GMT
 What's New?
 New palm book
 Date: 24-05-2004

An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
 New: Issue 48
 Date: 24-05-2004
Chamaerops 48
has been published in the Members Area.
 Archive complete!
 Date: 03-12-2002
All Chamaerops issues can now be found in the archive: More than 350 articles are on-line!
 Issues 13 to 16
 Date: 28-08-2002
Chamaerops mags 13, 14, 15 and 16 have been added to the members area. More than 250 articles are now online!
 42 as free pdf-file
 Date: 05-08-2002
Free Download! Chamaerops No. 42 can be downloaded for free to intruduce the new layout and size to our visitors
 Issues 17 to 20
 Date: 23-07-2002
Chamaerops mags 17, 18, 19 and 20 have been added to the members area. Now 218 articles online!
 Book List
 Date: 28-05-2001
Take a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
 New Book
 Date: 25-01-2001
'Palmen in Mitteleuropa'
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...