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Biographical entry Sinclair, James (1809 - 1881)

Altyre, Scotland
29 April 1881
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Landscape gardener


James Sinclair designed gardens for Russian royalty, largely in the 1840s. He emigrated to Australia in 1854 and was appointed planner of Fitz Roy Gardens in 1857.


Trained in painting and landscape gardening, James Sinclair worked in Kew Gardens, London, planned the estate of Prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov of Russia at Sebastopol (1838) and helped lay out the Imperial Gardens at St Petersburg for Tsar Nicholas I. He returned to England in 1853 at the outbreak of the Crimean war then moved to Melbourne the following year. He started up a seed business which he ran from 1854 to 1857, then worked on the plans for Fitz Roy Gardens (1857). Sinclair is commemorated by a memorial tablet set into a pathway near the house on the eastern edge of the gardens in which he had lived from about 1872. He received the Imperial Order of St Anne.

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Australian Botanists - Biographies, MS 064; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Published resources

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Rosanne Walker