Fleming’s – Four generations of a family business
Fleming’s earliest records show Eric Fleming, the nurseries founder, working as a ‘nurseryman’ in 1925. Although it is believed he was working in the profession for some years prior to this – possibly as early as 1918.
Eric was a cricket man and he came to know Cliff Nobelius through playing the game together and it is believed he started working for the world-famous Nobelius family nursery soon afterwards. It wouldn’t be long before Eric founded his own nursery in Macclesfield, which was primarily a supplier of apple and fruit stocks back to the Nobelius nursery.
Having a large family helped as employing from outside was costly and having the family working was a good way to make money and retain it during these early years through to the 1940’s.
Eric’s health started to decline in the 1950’s and the older boys did most of the work, and by the 1960’s, the Fleming’s became incorporated. More land was acquired and cleared, and fruit continued to be the basis of the company although no longer in trading stocks but now growing and selling fruit trees primarily to the orchard industry.
In the 1980’s one of Eric’s son, Don and his wife Dawn took over the nursery. It was during these years that ‘Fleming’s Nurseries’ was properly established as a leader in growing fruit and introducing new cultivars from overseas.
Don and Dawn worked tirelessly to bring new cultivars to Australia. They were excited by the innovation in breeding happening overseas – and knew they had to find a way to bring to the Australian market.
Their devotion to bringing a professional edge to their business, to growing the very best stock, and supporting plant breeders rights has been instrumental in paving the way for the Australian horticulture industry.
It was also a time of development of the ornamental nursery and the early management years for their sons, Wes and Graham. During these years, the container nursery was established to provide a year-round retail product. Later in the late 1990’s the advanced tree nursery was established.
2009 – Time for Change
In 2009 Following almost a decade of Wes and Graham jointly managing the business and during Dawn and Don’s retirement. A change was required to foster the future growth of the business for Wes and Graham’s own families which were also now part of the nursery.
Wes retained the Fleming’s brand and continues to supply fruit and ornamental tree s to the retail market, wholesalers, development, councils and more, while brother Graham retained the commercial orchard business working with fruit trees and stocks supplying commercial orchards and retaining breeders licences.
Today his first three children, Jessica, Jake and Todd Fleming are all working within the business as is his wife Paige Fleming with their little daughters Aurelia and Mietta spending a good deal of their time at the nursery too – all continuing the family tradition alongside approximately 160+ employees.
The business has been slowly developing its landscape services division from the early 2000’s, initially supplying and installing trees in the new urban communities across Melbourne. The division has grown to include services including landscape architecture, garden design, landscape project management and more.
In 2015 Fleming’s purchased Birdwood Nursery on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland supplying tropical and stone fruits including Avocado and Mangoes to the commercial orchard and retail industries.