Cnr Sylvander Street and Doncaster Road
This statue is inspired by Ernest Ferdinand Finger (1870–1956), otherwise always known as Ferdinand Finger, a notable orchardist and fruit grower, of German descent, who established 130 acres of orchard in Greythorn following the sale of the Towt Estate in 1901. He married Luise in 1892 and was his wife for the majority of his life. Luise died in 1946 and he remarried in 1950. He died in 1956.
After clearing the land, Ferdinand planted fruit trees of all varieties, including oranges and limes, and his became one of the largest orchards in the district. He is closely associated with the cultivation of lemons, as he planted the first two acres of lemons in the Doncaster district, before moving to Greythorn. After the family left Doncaster, they initially lived in Kew and Ferdinand commuted to the developing orchard by bike. He built his home in Greythorn, which was completed in 1911 and he called it Tannenwald (pine forest). During 1918-1919, his land was subdivided into 746 residential blocks, except for 15 acres around the house and 10 acres of lemons.
Some of the streets were named after his and his first wife Luise’s eight children, including Agnes Avenue, and Ilse and Robert streets. In his later years he cultivated flowers to sell to city florists, and unusual varieties of fruit. The site of his homestead is now the North Balwyn Uniting Church (formerly St Aidan’s Presbyterian Church). Ferdinand Avenue is named after him.
The statue’s plaque reads:
Hi, I am Ferdie. I grew lemons, apples, and cherries for the nearby fruit shops. I purchased land in Greythorn in 1902 and established a beautiful orchard. Ferdinand Avenue is named after me.
Something to think about:
Did you find the lemons on the statue of orchardist Ferdinand Finger? Greythorn was known for its orchards in the early 20th century, and Ferdinand Finger grew lemons and limes. Take a closer look at his hand and the oversized fingers, a reference to the etymology of his surname. Ferdie has a feather in his hat. It belongs to a famous laughing Australian bird. Can you guess the bird?
27 Dovile, 2003. The fruit was sold to Jonas’s in the city, who was known for selling out of season and tropical fruits.