William Clarson (1832-1890) was born in England, immigrating to Melbourne in 1853. He spent his working life in publishing, writing, editing, and gardening. He was a respected businessman and horticulturist, and was a member or officer of numerous organisations and societies. He was a fellow of the Linnean Society (London), an early member of Melbourne Trades Hall, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society of England and Victoria, and a trustee of the latter from 1870-1884. Clarson was an honorary director of the Burnley Horticultural College (Melbourne) from 1868-1872 and a member of the Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science.
The Kitchen Garden and Cottages Manual: A reliable guide to garden management, and to the culture of culinary crops for the table was published just months before Clarson’s death by suicide on 30 December 1890. Clarson was also a founding partner of the publisher of this book, A. H. Massina and Co, a firm that traded for over ninety years and was responsible for the Australian Journal. This rare book has been fully digitised by Deakin University Library – Special Collections, and this exhibit includes a study of Clarson’s personal and professional life.