James Railton ran Railton Bros Nursery - later called James Railton Nursery - at 205 Raglan St, Preston until the early 1950's. Its registered address also included Elizabeth Street - later Swanston Street - Melbourne.
In 1935 Railton was elected president of the Tree Planters Association and was often called upon to give advice on horticultural issues.
In 1914 James Railton is listed as producing one of the 12 best roses. In 1924 there is a letter explaining the proper use of shavings and horse manure for gardens.
An oral history describes the nursery bounded by Newcastle and Dundas Streets in South Preston.
During the 1920s and 1930s James Railton was occasionally mentioned in ‘The Argus’ newspaper including an incident in 1931 where Railton was returning to his house in Raglan Street Preston when he was attacked by two youths who wore masks. He was struck on the head and a sum of £ 3 was taken from his pocket book. The thieves were later arrested.
The nursery appears to have specialised in roses, ferns and palms. An example of how large the nursery was can be seen from a police report about a robbery of the nursery in 1934. Listed items included: six dozen Kenua palms, 157 standard roses, 86 aspidistras leaves, 25 large palms, 28 fishbone ferns, 200 bird-nest ferns, and the contents of 12 fern baskets
By the 1940s Railton owned property in Gisborne as well as South Preston.
In 1951 James Railton, of Raglan st.. Preston, seedsman and nurseryman died on November 4 leaving an estate valued at £70,751.
By the mid 1950s much of the nursery’s had been taken over by the Housing Commission of Victoria.
James was married and had three children – James G, Alma & Iris. His son enlisted in WWII and met his future wife in London where they were duly married. Upon returning to Preston the couple had a child who contracted the crippling disease polio.
(1914, January 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956)
(1924, July 17). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956)
(1931, June 23) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956)
(1934, June 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956)
(1935, May 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956)
(1952, April 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956)
Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston.
Forster, Harley W. (1968). Preston Lands and People. Melbourne: Cheshire.