The Kerrison family has a long association with Canberra - Ken's father, Arthur, a carpenter and joiner from Bombala, worked on the original Parliament House.
Ken's grandfather on the other side of his family, Harry Hawke, was one of many who came to Canberra from Araluen when the gold ran out. He was an engine driver on Canberra's Main Outfall Sewer and lived for decades in Westlake. One of his daughters, Dorene, married Arthur Kerrison in 1927, a few months after the opening of Paliament House at which they were present..
Ken was born in 1934.
The Kerrison family which, initially, also lived in Westlake, moved into a new dwelling in Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie in about 1938 and later moved to Knibbs St, in Turner. Ken became a Public Servant and later gained an Economics degree from ANU.
Fay Kerrison grew up in Brisbane and worked in a leading fruit wholesaling firm before movinng to Canberra in the late 50's. Ken and Fay met through the Canberra Bushwalking Club and were married in 1963.
Ken and Fay Kerrison built their first home in Irvine St. Watson in 1963. Fay then gained a diploma at the Canberra School of Horticulture and this led the family, in 1973, to buy the Pialligo property which is now Kerrison's Orchard. And Ken became a farmer as well as a Public Servant.
In 1989, he left the Public Service and became a full-time farmer.
Kerrison's Orchard was, until 1973, the Nash Orchard. Apples have been produced and sold here for over 50 years.
As mentioned on our main page, the first European settler in Pialligo was Robert Campbell in 1825. His 4,000 acre property was resumed when Canberra became the national capital. In the 1930s, under the Burley Griffin plan, land was released in Pialligo for small horticutural enterprises to serve Canberra.
The Grant family acquired one of these leases. The Nash family took over some twenty years later and the Kerrisons bought the property in 1973.
Members of all these families often visit the property during apple season.
Each of the successive owners left their mark. When the Kerrisons arrived, the orchard and the rest of the property were in good shape.
The orchard today is under trickle irrigation (from the bore installed by the Nashes) with intensive plantings on dwarfing rootstocks which require trellises to support the trees. Use of chemicals is reduced through integrated pest management - encouraging the presence of predator insects - and by monitoring pest numbers and tolerating low levels of damage.
The arrival of fruit bats in Canberra has forced netting of the orchard - a big operation.
Fruit is sold directly to the public - freshly-picked, top quality apples competitively priced (and the opportunity for big savings on lower grades) - that is what Kerrison's Orchard is all about.
The Kerrison property also hosts Karen Brien's native plant nursery - Cool Climate Natives.
Kerrison's Orchard - a working farm, close to the heart of Canberra.