The nurseryman and seed supplier history - from the Brunning's website, Trove articles and various UK horticulture history sites.
1841 23 Jan: John Gill (likely grandfather of Netherby Edwin) nurseryman of Blandford, Dorset UK, features The Gardeners’ Chronicle Issue number 4, referencing his catalogue of leading Dahlias and a fine stock of fruit and forest trees.
1845 4 Oct: John Gill referenced again in The Gardeners’ Chronicle inviting noblemen to order his new ornamental elm “Ulmus Montana Superba”.
1852: George and Charles Brunning arrive in Melbourne and establish Brunnings Nurseries which expanded through the 1850s and 60s, specialising in garden flowers and shrubs, farm seeds, lawn seeds, grains and vegetable seeds, which were shipped all over Australia. Brunnings still exists to this day.
1858: Brunnings launched the publication Brunnings Australian Gardener, known as the bible of Australian gardening and still published today.
1886: Herbert Fitzmaurice (HF) Gill joins the company Brunnings and becomes a director in 1906.
1889: John Brunning grows the first Victorian block of Jonathan apple trees, the forerunner of Australian orcharding.
1890 1 May: The Argus. Earliest mention I can find referring to Grendon Nursery – being horse race at Warwick, Grendon Nursery Handicap Plate.
1892: ERN Gill joined Brunnings. (known as Reginald/Reg, brother to HF).
1904: Mr Alec W Searle commenced working for Brunnings and became manager of the city shop.
1909: Mr E.R. Gill, preferring an outdoor life, started to grow flower and vegetable seedlings for the firm's exclusive requirements.
1910: Article in The Leader refers to HJ Brunning and HF Gill releasing the 17th edition of 'Australian Gardener'.
1926 1 May: The Australasian refers to the new plant catalogue issued by G. Brunning and Sons of St Kilda Nurseries, Brighton Road – established for 65 years.
1926 7 July: Article in the Herald states – Brunning’s Nurseries, Business not sold. The fact that the land occupied by Messrs G Brunning and Sons’ extensive nurseries at Rippon Lea have been sold has caused an erroneous idea that the business has also been sold. This is not the case. The nurseries will be carried on till the end of the year on the present premises. The firm’s further plans for continuing the business are not yet complete.
1926 8 November: Herbert Fitzmaurice Gill and ERN Gill establish Gill and Searle Pty Ltd with Alec W Searle, using capital of 25,000 pounds to acquire certain property and rights including the property at 73 Elizabeth Street Melbourne from FH Brunning Pty Ltd. This company was established as a result of sizable expansion of Brunnings, to carry on the horticultural side of the business, merchant trading of flowers, bulbs and vegetable seeds in packets, farm seeds, seedlings, trees, shrubs and gardening requisites. Experienced staff from F H Brunning Pty Ltd were also secured to continue the longstanding work. The premises were opposite the existing Brunning's building at 57 Elizabeth Street which continued with commercial side of the business in agriculture, farm, lawn, grass and vegetable seed bulk distribution including cleaning, dressing and grading seed and the export trade.
1926 26 Nov: The Prahran Telegraph reports on notes from the St Kilda Council. “That Messrs G Brunning and Sons be thanked for their generous gift of plants to the municipality; also that the council convey to Messrs Brunning and Sons an expression of its regret that the old-established firm is going out of business”. The foregoing was a committee recommendation passed by the St Kilda Council. For very many years the Brunning and Sons’ nursery in Brighton Road was a well-known landmark. Presumably the onward march of progress has made the old-time nursery site more valuable for building purpose than anything else. The thanks which the council have tendered to Messrs Brunning are well deserved.
1927: Gill and Searle Pty Ltd start producing a general nursery catalogue said to be a 'wonderfully comprehensive and artistically compiled reference book, and represents the very soundest advice to those about to stock up for pleasure and profit'.
1928 16 June: Ad for Grendon Nurseries cnr Hampton Street and Centre Road, North Brighton (states: late G. Brunning and Sons), suggests this may have been part of the 1926 sale with Brunnings and Sons winding up the nursery side of the business that was taken over by Gill and Searle Pty Ltd.
1930 15 Mar: Large advertisement for Grendon Nurseries in The Argus, listing ER Gill as proprietor.
1930 26 Apr: Horticultural Notes in the Australasian mention Mr ER Gill from Grendon Nurseries showing a non-competitive display of modern dahlias.
1931 25 July: Article in The Australasian refers to new catalogue from Gill and Searle and a range of hardy seedlings raised at the Grendon Nurseries.
1932 7 Sep: Article in the Herald refers to Mr Gill of Grendon Nurseries and the new camellia The Czar.
1933 27 Sep: Article in the Herald mentions Mr R Gill, managing director of Grendon Nurseries.
1934 8 Feb: Advertisement for Gill and Searle Pty Ltd refers to plants in bloom at our Grendon Nurseries, Brighton.
1935 January: HF and ER Gill attend the funeral of Brunning's director George Edward Brunning.
1935 18 Jan: Funeral notice for Cyril Vivian Gill refers to moving from the residence of brother Reg Gill at Grendon Nurseries corner of Hampton and Centre Roads Brighton. In articles about his accidental death (hit by a car while riding a bicycle), Cyril Vivian is referred to as a nurseryman so one could presume he was employed with his brother Reg.
1936 October: HF Gill and Leslie Brunning (son of deceased George) attend the biennial convention of Australian and New Zealand seed merchants in Adelaide.
1939: The Age from Melbourne, Victoria on March 29, 1939 makes reference to the Gill and Searle Nurseries in Hampton Street Brighton.
1941 3 Jan: E Reg Gill of Grendon Nurseries, Brighton, lends his experience to the 25th edition of the Australian Gardener, now authored by Leslie Brunning.
1957 13 March. (The Age). Mr Herbert Fitzmaurice Gill, who was connected with Victoria's seed and nursery trade for more than 70 years, died at his home in Halifax Street, Brighton, on Saturday. He was in his 86th year. In 1926, with his brother Mr E.R. Gill and Mr A.W. Searle he founded the firm of Gill and Searle Pty Ltd. Mr Gill was a foundation member of the Tree Planters' Association and the Seed Merchants' Association and was active for many years with the Nurserymen and Seedsmen's Association and Garden Week. He is survived by his son, Mr H.E.M. Gill.
2018: Gill's Nursery in Bay Road Cheltenham states on its website http://www.gillsnursery.com.au/history "From the original owners the Gill brothers and Mr Searle in 1920 to the Roach family of today, Gill’s Nursery operates in keeping with the values of the original motto – 'a tradition of quality and service'.”
2018: The Gardeners Corner Store, Horticultural Consultants, Nursery and Café, is located on the corner of Hampton Street and Centre Road Brighton on the site of the original Grendon Nurseries.