Nellie’s Garden | Mitcham Railway Station | Review

Nellie’s Garden, Mitcham Railway Station – Review July 2019

There’s nothing better than stumbling across hidden gems locally. And Nellie’s Garden, alongside the Mitcham Railway Station, is exactly one of those kinds of places…

Whether you’re in the area to catch a train or cycling with the kids to the nearby Barrens Reserve playground, it’s worth dropping into this delightful spot along the way. I mean, how many railway stations come with their own garden, seriously?

Wandering into the space feels like a glimpse back in time, no DeLorean time-machine required!

The garden is named after Nellie Iris Ellis (born 1920), who established the green haven with her hubby, Bob, a former stationmaster, during the 1960s. The leafy nook is situated on the station’s eastern side and features various big old trees, camellias, shrubs and native species, plus heritage buildings including an old outhouse, or dunny!

Nellie passed away in 1983 and her ashes were buried here. To this day, the landscaped garden is well-maintained by volunteers supported by the City of Mitcham, and thanks to its green ‘screening’ it’s a surprising oasis of calm despite facing Lower Mitcham’s busy Belair Road. My two lads enjoyed playing hide-and-seek here and discovering the different zones. Returning each season would no doubt offer changing colours.

Meanwhile, the adjacent Mitcham Railway Station itself is also worth a look. Opened in 1883, it had a dusting of star power this March when Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe shot scenes here for his new film, Escape from Pretoria. (Hello, Hogwarts Express!)

New posters at the station also showcase its history, including revealing that it was once a pick-up and drop-off point for troops at the Mitcham Military Camp during World War One.

Keen for more history and greenery? Just down the road is the scented Hawthorn Sensory Garden, which was developed in the eighties. Situated behind the new-look Mitcham Library and creek, it features raised garden beds and wide paths so visitors can enjoy its aromas, flowers and foliage with ease. Green bliss!

Review by Carla Caruso


For more information and all enquiries please visit the City of Mitcham website.

What:   Nellie’s Garden

When:   Anytime

Where:  Mitcham Railway Station  |  Belair Road, Lower Mitcham (opposite the Council Civic Centre)

Who:  Everyone – nature lovers, history buffs and keen explorers

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: Play & Go Adelaide 2019

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One Response to “Nellie’s Garden | Mitcham Railway Station | Review”

  1. March 12, 2020 at 2:33 am #

    Nellie Iris Ellis and her “husband”, Bob (Robert Edwin Ellis) were my parents-in-law.

    The garden was built because Nellie was quite unwell when they moved into the station in 1956. Bob dug over the small garden in the backyard of the station house for Nell to potter around in. It was soon full of plants, so Bob then extended the garden outside the fences, and just like Topsy, it grew!

    Eventually they had planted trees along both sides of the railway line from Grange Road to Wattlebury Road. There were several areas with different coloured rose bushes. An area at the eastern end of the garden was all scented plants – we had many visits from blind people who loved the different perfumes. There was also a large area of fuschias and later again, a large area of camelias.

    The watering system was built by Bob and that, and most of the plants were paid for by Bob and Nell, out of their own pockets. It was truly a family activity, as it was on a rare occasion that we could all sit down to a meal without someone going out to move hoses.

    The ashes of both Nell and Bob have been laid to rest there (along with our dog) and their son Malcolm Robert Ellis and I were married in the garden, close to the rock and plaque.

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