A short history of Francis Moss and family
1833 Francis Moss was born in County Durham, England.
1851 Francis Moss migrated to Victoria, aged 18 and settled at Buninyong, near Ballarat.
1853 Moss established a 17 acre nursery/garden to supply the goldfields. Made plans for fiancée Sarah Kingsford to emigrate. Mossmont Nursery (now at Monbulk) grew and sold red, white and yellow gooseberries, strawberries, red and black currants, plums, cherries and rhubarb. Moss grew many vegetables too, and learned some Cantonese so that he could converse with the Chinese he employed to work in his gardens. He imported seed from England, France and Italy, and supplied many of the Chinese market gardeners in Ballarat. He imported thousands of daffodil bulbs, and birds like thrushes and goldfinches. Five generations of the Moss family have continued in the nursery trade.
1856 Francis Moss married Sarah Kingsford.
1860-70s This was a tragic period for the family with three childhood deaths. Sarah died aged 46. However three daughters and a son, William survived. William continued the Moss family’s nursery heritage. During the 1870’s Francis Moss developed a great talent for budding and grafting fruit trees, after all imported stock suffered blight. He experimented with apple stocks, and with the help of Thomas Lang of Ballarat, developed a blight-free stock. This lead to the development of the Stewart's Seedling apple, or Ballarat Seedling named by Francis Moss in the 1870s. A Mrs Stewart of Golden Point, Ballarat, grew the apple from a seed, and Francis distributed it. It was a snow white apple, very acidic, and there is an example planted in the park.
1871 Francis’s cousin, Frederick, his wife and four children immigrated to Melbourne. They purchased 319 Acres (CA 53) in the Parish of Koorooman, on Wilkur Creek, also another property in the Parish of Nerrena. Frederick’s son, Frederick Jnr. selected 166 Acres (CA 22a1 and 22b2) on the Tarwin River, in the Parish of Nerrena. There are many descendants of this family in Gippsland.
1881 Francis married (second marriage) Augusta Munroe, former teacher at the Buninyong school, and they had two daughters. The eldest died, aged 32, leaving a son. The youngest, died as an infant, aged five.
1888 Francis Moss and wife Augusta settled at Mossvale Park, on his 1,000 acres of virgin forest and begins nursery development. Part of the property was originally selected by Mr Bernard Farrell, via the 1878 Land Board. Mr Bruce is the first nursery manager.
1890 Francis Moss’s son, William married Carlotta Pask. Francis Moss leases 9 acres closer to Leongatha, on Ruby Creek, now Strzelecki Highway, from Messrs Peter Johnson and Crighton because it was closer to rail services, more developed communities, sales opportunities and the Labour Colony.
1916 Francis Moss died, aged 84, buried at Buninyong. The Buninyong nursery sold, but the Leongatha property (Mossvale) failed to sell.
'The Gippslander' Thu 13 Jan 1916
'The evening Echo', Sat 21 October, 1916
'The Ballarat Star', Wed 24th Dec 1879