Popular nursery to make way for Ring Road project
CHOOSE a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Dan and Ann Oram have subscribed to that theory for more than two decades as the operators of Orams Nurseries at Pink Lily, on Rockhampton’s outskirts.
But all good things must come to an end, and for this couple that will be August when they close their doors for the final time - a victim of progress.
Ultimately their hand, or green thumbs as it be, were forced by the state and federal governments whose jointly-funded $1 billion Rockhampton Ring Road project will dissect their labour of love.
Of course Dan and Ann will be compensated for their loss, but that aside they are not the slightest bit bitter.
“Our nursery is smack bang in the middle of the Ring Road,” Dan said.
“I personally don’t have any problem with the road, because I think it’s a great idea and it’s a great benefit to the town.
“But unfortunately some people have got to be in the firing line (for the project’s route) and it’s us.”
The Von Allmen Rd site on which Orams Nurseries sits was first developed in 1954 by Ann’s father, Bill Von Allmen, co-founder of Fitzroy Nurseries.
After working for her dad for 27 years as a plant propagator, nursery woman, senior partner and director, Ann acquired the site in 2000 to carry on her new business which made the change to a specialist tubestock propagation nursery.
From there Orams Nurseries expanded to include a retail section, catering for the gardener looking for that something different.
“Ann is the brains of the operation,” Dan said.
“She is the ultimate nursery woman.
“I’m not a horticulturalist, not by any stretch of the imagination.
“I spent my life in the security industry, so at the nursery I’m just the office worker.”
Dan said Orams Nurseries was one of the few nurseries which grew tropical fruit trees tubestock.
“We supply these trees to the Northern Territory, parts of Queensland, northern NSW, Victoria, and we have sent some to South Australia.
“But the most enjoyable thing of all has been meeting people, the customers, and talking about plants.”
Dan and Ann’s passion has also taken them around the world.
“We’ve travelled widely in the pursuit of plants,” Dan said.
“We’ve been through Asia looking at all the fruit trees over there.
“We’ve travelled through America, down to Florida to see how they grow fruit trees.
“It has been an enjoyable time. But it’s been a pursuit of happiness.
“It’s a job we get paid for, that we love.
“It has never felt like work to me.”
Dan said there was still plenty to do before Orams Nurseries closed at the end of August.
“We’ve got to get rid of all our plants, hundreds and thousands of plants, but not the Desert Roses,” he said.
“So we’re going to have a big sale and they will be sold at massively reduced prices.
“Some of the plants will also be given to different organisations that can benefit from them.”
Although their business is closing, Dan and Ann won’t be walking away from plants altogether.
“We have other land out here (Pink Lily),” Dan said.
“We’re going to continue with our Desert Roses and take them over to another block, but it will be on a very reduced scale.
“I mean it’s something that will be more like a hobby now.
“Ann and I are not getting any younger - I’m 67 on Saturday.”