Frank Riethmuller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Frank Riethmuller (1884–1965) was an Australian rose breeder.

Studio photo of Frank Riethmuller in Townsville about 1910, when he was 26.
Riethmuller began to show roses in Sydney when he was about sixty.



The last child of poor German immigrant farmers, Francis Lewis Riethmuller (known as Frank) was born on 10 February 1884 in Glenvale, then a village near (now a suburb of) Toowoomba, Queensland.[1][2][3] When dealing with Germans, he reverted to writing Riethmüller. In Australia, the first syllable is pronounced Reith but never spelt that way.

Chronically prone to bronchitis and bronchiectasis, Riethmuller had to live mostly outdoors.[4] First educated at Glenvale primary school,[5] he spent two years as a state scholarship pupil at Toowoomba Grammar: every surname in the class was Anglo-Celtic except his.[6] He worked 1899–1905[7] as a "pupil school teacher" at Gowrie Junction, Glenvale and Charters Towers, a gold-mining town.[8]

North Queensland[edit]

Moving to Charters Towers was the start of a life-long search for somewhere to breathe properly. Eventually his bronchitis became so bad that he spent 1906–07 back at his parents', too sick to work.[9] He returned at 23 to Charters Towers and worked 1908–13 as a bookkeeper to a butcher's chain.[10] Bad health brought the job to an end, as it did most of his Queensland jobs. Charters Towers was said to be "good for his asthma"; it also had a big German-speaking population. Writing and speaking German, and devoted to his German inheritance, he may have found the First World War difficult. He was certainly unfit for the army, though he had trained in the CMF.[11] Many people of German descent were persecuted, though Riethmuller was not interned.[12]

From 1914 to 1918 he worked mostly as a Townsville tobacconist–bookmaker's shop assistant, sometimes as a bookkeeper on a sheep and horse-breeding station near Richmond.[13][14][15]

In mid-1918 Riethmuller moved to a Brisbane pub successfully to complete private study for the Junior Public Examination in English, French, German, Latin, Arithmetic and Algebra. Eleven hundred 15-year-olds sat the exam that November; Riethmuller was 34 years old.[16]

Career in Sydney[edit]

After his four months of enforced confinement in Brisbane, he moved to Sydney[17] and found a job as a "confidential clerk",[18] code for a bookmaker's penciller. It was open-air work. He was outstandingly good at it and he never looked back.

As well as recording bets, he had to collect losing ones on Monday, settlement day. This was work for which his calm and gentlemanly manner was an asset. Riethmuller was making £1000 a year for working two or three days a week[19] when the average annual salary of a clerk was about £370.[20] He was possibly a silent partner in the bookmaking business as well.[21] It was an income and career he kept up through the depression and the war till he retired in 1945. He allowed people to infer that he was clever with shares, but he made safe investments in land, treasury bonds, banks and in firms as safe as banks.[19]

Riethmuller only had two employers, both very well known Sydney bookmakers. Jim Hackett was the between-wars equivalent of Bill Waterhouse post-war; Riethmuller worked for Hackett until he resigned to travel in Europe in 1928. When he returned he worked until he retired for Frank Alldritt. Both employers were willing to travel during the war to Canberra to testify on Riethmuller's behalf. Alldritt disclosed that at the end of the day's racing he divided his entire takings uncounted between Riethmuller and his other clerk and provided each with a signed blank document for the bank.[22]

Riethmuller made plans in 1939 to set up as a stockbroker but they were blighted by the war.[23] After the war, well into retirement, he told Your Garden he was working as an accountant, but the duties seem to have been light.[24]

Further education[edit]

At the same time as starting a new career, Riethmuller began a series of attempts to acquire a serious education in the Humanities, first at the University of Sydney, later at the University of Heidelberg.[25] He made two long trips to Europe – Belgium, France, Switzerland, England, Germany, Italy – in 1928 and in 1931. He attended a one-month course in Conversational French at Grenoble in 1928. He also attended a six-week course in 1931 in German language, art, painting and architecture at the Institute for Foreigners at the University of Berlin. He made detailed plans to visit Germany again in 1937, but his attempt to enrol at Heidelberg perhaps foundered on the increasing Nazification of Germany, perhaps on his worsening health.[26] He was back at Sydney in 1929. He spent the Second World War between roses and race meetings as a university student of Italian and German (two of the three enemy languages).[27] He led people to believe he was an Arts graduate who had also studied botany and "genetics at the University of Sydney.”[28] If so it was doing independent reading in the library. He did eventually complete a major in German. And he did eventually leave most of his estate to the University for medical research. At the university Riethmuller met Professor EG Waterhouse, learned in German, French, Italian and Japanese, innovative architect of house and garden, the world's greatest expert on the genus Camellia and a camellia breeder.[29] Riethmuller was proud to call him "a personal friend."[30]


For 20 years Riethmuller lived in the now vanished world of respectable Sydney boarding houses and residential hotels.[31] He had rooms in five such places between 1918 and 1938, including nine years at "Wiesbaden" (at which a number of Germans stayed) in Bondi, and seven years at "Wychwood" in Turramurra on the North Shore. It was run by a Miss Hambledon, born Leontine Hamburger to German-Jewish parents in New York. She was 14 years older than he; they became friends.[32] Occasionally they could be heard talking in German.

Unfortunately Miss Hambledon did not disguise her support for German expansion in Europe (though most of her relations in Germany had long since fled). After two months of police investigation, Riethmuller was arrested on 20 August 1940 and interned under National Security Regulation 26.[33]

He spent 130 days all told in Long Bay Gaol, and in camps at Orange and Hay in country NSW. Of that time he spent 11 weeks in camp hospitals and Orange base hospital. Riethmuller's prison camp admission card ("Report on Prisoner of War"), dated 18 October 1940, incidentally gives the best documentation of his life history to that date.[34]

Eventually he was able to force things to an inquiry ("lodge an objection") at which no good reason for detaining him could be sustained. Witnesses attested to his loyalty to the Empire and the Australian way of life. His interest in things German was part of his gentlemanly interest in culture generally. He admitted that his spoken Italian, French and German were not much good, but he made an excellent show of correcting official translations of German documents found in his possession. Allegedly he had had spy maps drawn of the La Perouse radio transmitter and the Chullora railway workshops; they turned out simply to be a plan of his own house and its Wireless Weekly radio aerial. German names in his address book were shown to be long-lost or never-met contacts beyond any hope of forming a spy ring; one made Riethmuller's suits at Anthony Hordern's.[35] Above all the committee of inquiry was impressed by the commitment of his investments and property to the Australian economy. Riethmuller's will at that stage left most of his money to Australian public hospitals.[36] He was released 10 December 1940.


Riethmuller in old age in his Turramurra back garden. If those roses are hybrid teas bred by him, they are lost and probably no longer exist.
'Titian,' 1950. Deep pink blooms the size of coffee-cup saucers. Well formed at every stage and usually in flower.
'Kwinana,' 1962. Shoulder high clusters of single, 8-cm, red-orange flowers. Some scent, musky. The overall impression is of dressy artifice.
Rosa multiflora, the species foundation via Lambert's 'Gartendirektor Otto Linne' of all Riethmuller's Lambertianas.
Lambert's 'Mozart' of 1936. A late example of the German tradition Riethmuller followed. Note the multiflora leaves.
'Spring Song,' 1954. Low, wide and scented, little flowers in flushes all season. Like all Riethmuller's Lambertianas, a landscaping plant.
'Honeyflow,' 1957, looks like a wild rose which happens to flower all the time. Low growing with little pale pink flowers, strong honey scent and never without a bee.
'Gay Vista,' 1955, demure as a sweet pea and equally hard to photograph. Some scent. A leafy shrub to five feet, flowering with occasional repeats. Named after a racehorse.
'Esmeralda,' 1957. Vivid 4-cm magenta-pink flowers, richly scented, recurrent on a low, dark, sprawling bush. Much more double and floriferous but paler in hot climates.
'Snow Spray' 1957. Scented white flowers in clusters on a low bush. The stamens are bright yellow.
'Carabella,' 1960. Small single flowers perpetually on a chest-high bush. Sharp, fresh scent. Creased Multiflora leaves.
'Claret Cup,' 1962. Masses of small single flowers, intensely colored and mildly scented.
'Lady Woodward' 1959. Cupped hybrid tea form and very good Hybrid Tea scent.

Riethmuller's diaries confiscated by the security police show that he was growing roses (from Hazlewood Brothers) in Turramurra from 1932. In the mid-1930s he was more interested in dahlias and cactuses, renewing his interest in roses in 1937.[37]

In 1937 he bought land (probably the land he was already using) a few streets from Miss Hambledon's boarding house.[8] The same year he built a small art-deco house on it. He was joined there by his unhappily married sister Sophia Bischof (1878–1972) and her third daughter Elsie (1909–2004), who stayed till both her uncle and mother had died.[38] A sign on the front gate said "Miss E. Bischof dressmaker" but mostly Elsie was the housekeeper. Riethmuller made health plans in 1940 to move to a higher and drier property in Bowral or Moss Vale but nothing came of them.[39]

A next-door neighbour 1937–1939 remembered him as a homebody who, when he was not prostrated by illness, spent every day working in the garden.[40]

Ayliffe's, a local rose and carnation nursery, supplied him with roses from 1938 and pruned them.[41] Riethmuller was thus at least 54 and living in Turramurra when he made his first known rose crosses; 61 when he retired to full-time rose breeding in 1945; 66 when he released his first rose for sale.[42] All his best roses that we know about were bred in his last decade when he was over 70 and his health at its worst.

"His large garden is packed with roses, a fair proportion of them of his own raising."[43] Apart from his own seedlings, most roses he is known to have bred from are of German origin. He also bred from a couple of roses by Alister Clark, and emulated Clark's refusal to pamper seedlings: "He used to give his roses a post-pruning spray but didn’t spray at all otherwise. So his seedlings had to be disease-resistant to survive."[44]

In the early 1960s Roger Mann was his teenage pupil: "The colour shot of Frank Riethmuller [shown on the right] is as I remember him. He's standing in his back garden, in his 'rose garden' — actually a big single bed that occupied about half the area, and which held most of his collection … At the very back next to the fence he had his nursery beds, compost heaps etc and the shed … It was a splendid sight in mid-winter, when the main rose beds were all pruned and smothered in manure and straw. The ground sloped from front to back and there was a flight of steps up to the back porch where we’d sit and talk, and camellias growing against the house there … The front garden was fairly conventional, with a low brick front fence with some floribundas — ‘Eutin’ among them as I recall — but mainly other plants behind it; the bed was fairly narrow and shaded by the street trees. The house was set close to the south boundary, and there was a curving path to the front door lined on one side by maybe a dozen roses, among which I remember ‘Sunlit’ and ‘Marjory Palmer’. It led into a bed at the corner of the house which had ‘Cara Bella’, ‘Honeyflow’ and ‘Claret Cup’ with ‘Spring Song’, and down the north side of the house where the land was a bit wider were half-a-dozen original plants of ‘Titian’ trained espalier and reaching the eaves … I remember asking him why he’d registered it as a floribunda when it was so obviously a climber, and he said he hadn’t realised at the time that it would grow like that.[4]

Riethmuller died at 81 on 23 April 1965, bequeathing to the University of Sydney the proceeds of the sale of his house and garden: in 1972 they realised over $80,000, a big sum at the time.[45][46]

Friends and relations[edit]

John Flynn was a doctor friend Riethmuller used to exchange drinks with at Tattersall's Club after the races. Dr Flynn told the 1940 internment tribunal, "He is a very mild mannered man … He was a genial, well-mannered, good citizen."[47]

Queensland great-nieces old enough (and young enough) to remember their honeymoon visits to Sydney in the 1950s say "He was a lovely, sweet man, mainly interested in his wine collection and his roses." If it matters any more, he was rather tall, lean and blond, going grey in his fifties. He had a "long Riethmuller face", blue Nordic eyes and, in later years, a mouthful of gold teeth.[48] Most memories of him reveal unfailing generosity to others. He waived all rights to royalties from roses he released for sale.[49] Above all, despite having lived away from his family for 27 years, Riethmuller took in his sister and her spinster daughter and supported both till the end of their lives, far beyond his own death. His sister lived on this support for 35 years, his niece for 67.[50]

Riethmuller was a lifelong bachelor and there is no record of his having made any deep attachment beyond family and friends, usually married women. He was particularly close to his nephew Max Riethmuller (1912–1972) who, like him, never married.

Though he maintained strong family contacts, no rose is named for anyone in his family. Several are dedicated to socially prominent Sydney women.

'Kwinana' may have been a gift to a South Australian service club, but its colour alludes to the burn-off flames of the Kwinana oil refinery. 'Claret Cup' has masses of cup-shaped flowers, claret coloured. 'Galah' was the same pink as the breast feathers of a galah. 'Spring Song' was the Mendelssohn Song Without Words familiar to a hundred years of piano students.

His roses 'Alma,' 'Filagree' (misspelling of 'Filigree'), 'Gayness' and 'Helios' were all named after 1940s racehorses. 'Gay Vista,' 'Honeyflow' and 'Titian' were 1950s racehorses in Australia.[51]


Riethmuller's unmarried niece and housekeeper Elsie Bischof outlived him by nearly 40 years. After Riethmuller died, Elsie often showed people interested in the roses, 'Titian' especially, around Eastern Road (the property remained her mother's to use till she too died). Elsie returned to Toowoomba in 1972 and made his roses widely known there.[8] Her constant advocacy seems to have been the main reason those she took with her survive.

Perhaps the leading rose thinker in Australia after the Second World War was the registrar of new varieties, AS Thomas. His book Better Roses went through many editions. The 1969 edition, in its chapter "Australian and New Zealand Roses", lists 80 "highly prized cultivars." Twenty are roses by the great Alister Clark. Next in importance come the roses of Riethmuller: 'Esmeralda,' 'Gay Vista,' 'Plaisante,' 'Silverelda,' 'Snow Spray,' 'Spring Song' and 'Titian.'[52]

By the 1990s the task of collecting and cultivating the remaining roses was taken on by Phillip Sutherland of Golden Vale Nursery, Benalla. His plants came partly from NSW nurseries and collectors but also from relations and friends of Elsie in Queensland. He also is responsible for the survival of Riethmuller's only extant hybrid tea, Lady Woodward. Golden Vale closed in 2011, but the plants he sought out are now safely established in public collections.[4][53]


Riethmuller is known to have released 26 roses in all. Ten are currently available; many have been lost.[54] Most of those we still have are remarkably well bred: healthy, well-formed, well-scented and floriferous. They are hardy in Australia from southern Tasmania to Mackay in north Queensland.[55]


Floribundas are typically stiff shrubs, smaller and bushier than the average hybrid tea but less dense and sprawling than the average polyantha. The first of Riethmuller's surviving floribundas, and the best, was 'Titian.'

Riethmuller used Kordes' roses as breeding stock. In return the Kordes firm acted as Riethmuller's agent in Europe, where at least 'Titian' among his roses became well known. Riethmuller released 'Titian' in Australia in 1950, though he said he had bred it in 1937. Given his preference for German stock, it was probably a cross between a Kordes hybrid tea such as 'Crimson Glory' and a Kordes floribunda such as 'Eutin.' As Charles Quest-Ritson observed:

The flowers are semi-double and open out flat to a muddled centre and an old fashioned shape, like a Bourbon rose … it makes an excellent ever-blooming rose in warm climates like Australia's, and a sturdy, tall bush in cool climates like northern Europe's.[56]

Riethmuller registered 'Titian' as a floribunda but others quickly realised it grew best as a short climber. Kordes' firm subsequently patented a climbing sport ('Tizian'), though that was more to secure European royalties than due to any change in the rose. Kordes particularly valued the resistance of 'Titian' to disease.[24] It is still the most widely grown of Riethmuller's roses and easy to get from nurseries.

'Kwinana' came out in 1962. With it the Riethmuller floribunda reaches the height of sophisticated artifice, everything about it carefully designed for decorator effects. Nothing else makes sense of its still rather shocking red-orange colour.


Lambertianas descend from roses created by the German breeder Lambert in the 1920s using Rosa multiflora. To some rosarians they are simply members of the wider class of polyanthas, but Lambertianas have the characteristic leaf shape and scent of R. multiflora. By these criteria, some of Pemberton's Hybrid Musks descended from Lambert's 'Trier' are Lambertianas, some are not. But all of Riethmuller's polyanthas are Lambertianas.

Riethmuller adapted them to make mounds of perpetually flowering clusters of single flowers. In Sydney and similar climates they are all between knee and shoulder high: neither climbers nor dwarves nor ground-cover. In hot climates they grow much taller and the flowers cluster into spikes or corymbs inherited from R. multiflora. 'Spring Song,' a chance Lambert seedling, came out in 1954. From it he bred 'Ngarla,' released in 1955; 'Gay Vista,' 'Honeyflow' and 'Esmeralda,'[57] all released in 1957; 'Carmel Bice’ and ‘Elaine White’ in 1959, both now lost; 'Carabella' (or 'Cara Bella') in 1960; 'Claret Cup' in 1962. 'Carabella' in particular grows easily from cuttings and is always in flower.

Peter Cox and others have pointed out that 'Carabella,' like 'Titian,' can easily be grown as a pillar rose, some examples reaching 2.5 metres.[54] In Toowoomba it can reach 3.7 metres.[58]

Phillip Sutherland held 'Honeyflow' to be the best of all Australian garden roses for continuous flowering, and to have a "delicious scent".[53]

‘Snow Spray’ is another multiflora-leaved Lambertiana sometimes misleadingly labelled a floribunda. It is a highly-scented, very double self-cross of ‘Gartendirektor Otto Linne’, flowering all season and growing a metre high and across. Allowing for its yellow stamens, it is the closest to an all-white Riethmuller rose since the loss of ‘Elaine White.’

'Chip's Apple Blossom' is a dwarf form of 'Carabella,' never registered. If it is true Riethmuller gave it to Miss Smallwood, he must have bred it by November 1939 when she became Mrs Farram. Much more likely he gave it to Mrs Farram in the late Fifties when he bred his other Lambertianas.

The well-known 'Cousin Essie' is not by Riethmuller but a seedling of his 'Honeyflow.' Nearly all Riethmuller's Lambertianas were bred from Lambert's 'Gartendirektor Otto Linne', but none has its shiny-as-beaten-metal leaves.

Hybrid Teas[edit]

Hybrid teas are shrubs with flowers high-pointed in the bud, opening to big scented double flowers, preferably recurrently. Riethmuller's 'Lady Woodward' came out in 1959. The deep pink 'Filagree' appeared in 1962; the dark red 'Denise McClelland' in 1964.

Roger Mann reports a red hybrid tea called 'Showboat' grown at Turramurra: "Not sure if he ever registered or introduced it. It was a bit like 'Ena Harkness' in flower, but with an even weaker neck."[59] 'Showboat' may of course be identical to the rose registered as 'Denise McClelland.'

The only Riethmuller hybrid tea known still to exist is 'Lady Woodward,' hanging by a thread in a couple of public collections. Despite its Pernetiana ancestry it has dark green laurel-like leaves, forming an elegant shrub entirely lacking in hardness or angularity. The buds are long and pointed, with sepals extending beyond the bud. As the sepals separate, the buds show maroon, mahogany and burnt orange colour. The four-inch blooms – sometimes in clusters – have broad, veined, reflexed petals and yellow centres; they tend to look out rather than up. Very good tea scent. The blooms are light pink with a rich play of inner lights and shadows. Numerous big and stylish thorns start off pink to match the flowers, but turn berry red as they age.


Riethmuller extended his hybrid tea breeding into Pernetianas. Pernet was the first to cross breed hybrid tea roses with the Persian yellow Rosa foetida. Pernetianas often had good scent and glowing combinations of red and yellow. Riethmuller characteristically took a Pernetiana bred by Kordes to make his own. 'Evelyn Buchan' came out in 1959 and 'Silverelda' (no doubt with silver tints somewhere) probably at the same time. Neither is known still to exist.

Sortable list of Riethmuller roses[54][60][edit]

Name Date Type Colour Pollen parent Seed parent Extant
Alma[61] 1957 Floribunda Crimson Orange Triumph[62] Eutin [63] Lost
Amore[64] 1957 Lambertiana Deep Pink Orange Triumph Spring Song Lost
Carabella[65] 1960 Lambertiana Single white with pink edges Gartendirektor Otto Linne[66] Seedling Yes
Carmel Bice[67] 1959 Lambertiana Pink blend Gartendirektor Otto Linne Seedling Lost
Chip's Apple Blossom[68] 1988 (named) Dwarf Lambertiana Single white with pink edges Gartendirektor Otto Linne Seedling Yes
Claret Cup[69] 1962 Lambertiana Red with white centres Spring Song Eutin Yes
Denise McClelland[70] 1964 Hybrid tea Dark red Amy Johnson[71] New Yorker[72] Lost
Elaine White[73] 1959 Lambertiana White Gartendirektor Otto Linne Seedling Lost
Esmeralda[74] 1957 Lambertiana Magenta Gartendirektor Otto Linne Seedling Yes
Evelyn Buchan[75] 1959 Pernetiana Pink and yellow Luis Briñas[76] Crimson Glory[77] Lost
Filagree[78] 1962 Hybrid tea pillar Deep pink Titian Sterling[79] Unknown
Florrie Joyce[80] 1960 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Lost
Galah[81] 1956 Hybrid tea Carmine-pink, i.e. galah-coloured Unknown Unknown Lost
Gay Vista[82] 1955 Lambertiana Bright pink with white centres Unknown Unknown Yes
Gayness[83] 1955 Hybrid tea Unknown Unknown Unknown Lost
Helios[84] 1960 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Lost
Honeyflow[85] 1957 Lambertiana Blush pink Spring Song Gartendirektor Otto Linne Yes
Kwinana[86] 1962 Floribunda Red-orange Orange Triumph Seedling Yes
Lady Woodward[87] 1959 Hybrid tea Light pink Heinrich Wendland[88] Elli Knab[89] Yes
Ngarla[90] 1955 Lambertiana Probably dark red Unknown Unknown Unknown
Pearl Costin[91] 1959 Hybrid tea Yellow blend Elli Knab Amy Johnson Lost
Plaisante[92] 1957 Floribunda Bright pink, lighter reverse Borderer Unknown Lost
Rubens[93] 1960 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Lost
Silverelda[94] 1959? Pernetiana Pink blend Heinrich Wendland Nancy Wilson[95] Lost
Showboat no date Hybrid tea Red Unknown Unknown Unknown
Snow Spray[96] 1957 Lambertiana White blend Gartendirektor Otto Linne Gartendirektor Otto Linne Yes
Spring Song[97] 1954 Lambertiana Carmine-pink Gartendirektor Otto Linne Self Yes
Titian[98] 1955 Floribunda Deep pink Unknown Unknown Yes

Where Riethmuller roses can be seen[edit]

  • The Heritage Rose Garden in the Botanic Garden of Orange, NSW has ‘Lady Woodward’, ‘Carabella’, 'Gay Vista' and ‘Titian’.[99]
  • The old rose section of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne has 'Carabella' and 'Claret Cup' in island beds.
  • The Victoria State Rose Garden at Werribee Park has 'Carabella', 'Claret Cup,' 'Honeyflow,' 'Kwinana' and 'Titian.'[100]
  • Nieuwesteeg Heritage Rose Garden in Maddingley Park, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria has ‘Lady Woodward’. From the bandstand, it is the pink hybrid tea at the south end of the third bed from the left. The National Plant Collections Register of significant Australian rose cultivars is held by John Nieuwesteeg at Coldstream, Victoria. It also contains 'Carabella', 'Claret Cup, 'Gay Vista', 'Honeyflow', 'Spring Song' and 'Titian' but access is by application only.[101]
  • The National Rose Collection created by David Ruston at Renmark in South Australia has 'Carabella,' 'Spring Song' (sometimes sold as 'Bert Mulley'), 'Lady Woodward,' 'Titian,' and 'Chip's Apple Blossom.'[102]
  • The Morwell Centenary Rose Garden in Gippsland has 'Carabella', 'Claret Cup', 'Gay Vista', 'Esmeralda' (unlabelled), 'Honeyflow', 'Spring Song' and 'Titian.'[103]
  • The Adelaide Botanical Garden, South Australia has 'Titian.'
  • The rose garden in Newtown Park, Toowoomba has 'Titian' and had 'Carabella.' (The website of Toowoomba Regional Council claims these roses were bred in Toowoomba, but this is incorrect.)
  • The Kodja Place Roze Maze at Kojonup, Western Australia uses hedges of Australian roses, including Australia's best collection of Riethmuller's: 'Carabella', 'Claret Cup,' 'Esmeralda,' 'Gay Vista', 'Honeyflow,' 'Spring Song' and 'Titian.'[104]

Few Riethmuller roses can be found in collections made outside Australia. 'Titian' and 'Snow Spray' are in the Europas-Rosarium at Sangerhausen in north Germany. 'Titian' is in the Rosarium Budatétény at Budapest. 'Titian' and 'Gay Vista' are in the catalogue of the Californian nursery Vintage Gardens.

The blog Roses of Frank Riethmuller has a list of Australian nurseries selling his roses.

Articles written by Riethmuller[edit]

FL Riethmuller (Turramurra, NSW), "Co-operative Rose Breeding", Australian and New Zealand Rose Annual (ANZRA), 1955, p112.

F Riethmuller (Sydney NSW), "Nora Cunningham", ANZRA, 1957, p135. A puff for the European release of the Alister Clark climber, 'Nora Cunningham.'

Frank Riethmuller (Turramurra, NSW), "Roses from Seed", ANZRA, 1960, p118. Shows how FLR actually thought as a breeder.

Riethmuller in the Australian national archive[edit]

The National Archive of Australia is indispensable to researching Riethmuller's career. All his records are listed online under the heading Security and intelligence records. As can be seen in the table below, his name is often misspelt and there is some overlap between holdings in different cities.

Archive series Date Barcode Location Title Contents Available
A1539, 1940/W/3994 1940 6922353 Canberra Trading with the Enemy Act, 1939 – Mr. F L Riethmuller FLR's two-page letter asking permission to import two German texts about the German language, the brief official refusal and notification to another official. Online
C123/1, 2679 1940–1943 3905523 Sydney Reithmuller, Francis Lewis (Australian) Seventy-nine pages of Security Service dossier, with lists of foreign books held, translations, public complaints and stat. decs. by complainants, official assessments of FLR as a security risk, record of arrest. Online
C415, 70 1929–1945 7297693 Sydney Frank Lewis Reithmuller [also known as Francis Reithmuller] This series contains six very small Johnnie Walker Diaries 1931, 1933–1937, a 1930 Dewar's Diary, a 1929 Sydney University Union Diary, The Shooter's Year Book 1932, a folder containing copies of the magazines 'Mutterlpradje' (Jan-Aug 1939), 3 copies of the publication 'Proceedings of the Deutsche Akademie' 1936 vols 2–4, two postcards in German, newspapers cuttings, the libretto of an "evangelical cantata", "Die Krone des Lebens", one address book, invoices (mainly from German publishers) and correspondence from German acquaintances abroad. It also includes FLR's successful one-page application in German to matriculate from the University of Heidelberg. The address book and the diaries rarely record appointments: they are mostly memoranda of plants bought, phone numbers of friends and clients, shoe sizes and lasts, written-out Australian and European railway timetables, and scores of addresses of European pensions. The address book itself seems to have been conscientiously started in 1922 and later adapted to the same purposes as the diaries. Open to physical inspection and being photographed
MP1103/1, PWN1389 1940 8613738 Melbourne Prisoner of War/Internee: Riethmuller, Francis Lewis; Date of birth – 10 February 1884; Nationality – British One-page card recording FLR's internment camps and dates Online
MP1103/2, PWN1389[105] 1940 9902704 Melbourne Prisoner of War/Internee: Riethmuller, Francis Lewis; Date of birth – 10 February 1884; Nationality – British One-page camp reception card. Online
A367, C18000/42 1940 776278 Canberra Objection No.71 of 1940. Reithmuller Francis Lewis. Advisory Committee The 58-page transcript of his appeal against internment 20 November 1940 Online
A12102, 37 23 Aug 1940 – 20 Nov 1940 5169109 Canberra Riethmuller, Francis Lewis – Objection No. 71 of 1940 … Alien Advisory Committee FLR's 9-page stat. dec. to the internment committee. Rest is same as barcode 776278, plus most of barcode 3905523. Online
MP508/1, 255/742/61 1940 3382652 Melbourne Francis Lewis Riethmuller – Release from internment Four-page report of the ministerial advisory committee summarising Riethmuller's circumstances and concluding that "it is neither necessary nor desirable" that he remain interned. Five pages of related official correspondence. FLR's stat. dec. to the committee, identical to that included in barcode 5169109. Two-page application for ministerial warrant. The original detention order and 6 pages of related official documents, not the same as barcode 3905523. Online
C123, 2683 24 Oct 1938 – 23 Jun 1948 3905526 Sydney Hamburger, Miss Leontine aliases Hambleton and Hambledon (American – naturalised British subject) Her complete Security Service dossier Online
C415, 65 1932–1939 7283882 Sydney Leontine Hambledon [? formerly Hamburger] This item consists of a summary by Military Police Intelligence of biographical details of Leontine Hambledon; police certificates of good conduct for Lilly Lust, a relative of Leontine Hambledon; 3 postcards to Elsa Rose from Julius Schmitt, in German with English translations; the following correspondence to subject in German with English translations: a postcard, 2 letters and a Christmas card; correspondence mostly from European relations in German and English. There is some overlap with barcode 3905526. Online


  1. ^ Gersekowski, Jenny (1985). Humphrey families in Australia : featuring William Edward and Mary Ann Humphrey and their descendants, including Riethmuller family history (from Neckarrems, Württemberg, Germany to Moreton Bay. Qld., Australia). Toowoomba, Qld.: Cranbrook Press. p. 72. ISBN 0-9590369-0-3. 
  2. ^ (Translated from the German) Hans Wolfgang Rath, List of Ancestors of Frank Lewis Riethmuller in Sydney, Australia, Ludwigsburg, Württemberg, Germany, unpublished, compiled 1928–1929.
  3. ^ Riethmuller's Queensland birth record shows that he was born in 1884, not 1885 as most writers claim.
  4. ^ a b c Timewell, Eric (2012). Frank Riethmuller: Life and Roses. St Kilda: Eric Timewell. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-9873756-0-5. 
  5. ^ State scholarship results, The Queenslander, 23 January 1897, p. 191.
  6. ^ Toowoomba Grammar records, thanks to Ellen Morosini.
  7. ^ "TEACHERS' EXAMINATIONS". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 23 February 1903. p. 9. Retrieved 23 October 2012. ; statutory declaration made to internment tribunal 23 August 1940, National Archive A12102/37.
  8. ^ a b c Timewell, Eric (2012). "Frank Riethmuller's niece Elsie". Journal of Heritage Roses in Australia. 34 (2): 38–41. 
  9. ^ Statutory declaration made to internment tribunal 23 August 1940, National Archive A12102/37.
  10. ^ "Police Court". The Northern Miner. Charters Towers, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 21 September 1910. p. 7. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Military training was compulsory from 1910; see Macintyre, Stuart (1986). The Oxford history of Australia Vol. 4 (Repr. ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 139. ISBN 0195546121. 
  12. ^ Australian National Archive MP1103/2 Report on Prisoner of War 19 October 1940; Gerhardt Fischer, Enemy aliens: internment and the homefront experience in Australia, 1914-1920. 1989, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia. ISBN 0-7022-2178-3.
  13. ^ Note his Townsville employer Champion's description when his will was declared: "The Townsville Daily Bulletin. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30.SO. 1939.". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 30 August 1939. p. 6. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  14. ^ His employers near Richmond were the Douglas brothers: "TURF NOTES.". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 30 April 1914. p. 7. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Statutory declaration made to internment tribunal 23 August 1940, National Archive A12102/37 p.2.
  16. ^ "Educational". The Queenslander. National Library of Australia. 25 January 1919. p. 13. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  17. ^ The Queenslander, 25 January 1919, p.13. This reference is thanks to Revd Timothy Jarick.
  18. ^ Letter to University of Heidelberg applying for matriculation there. Translation in National Archive C123/2679.
  19. ^ a b National Archive A1202/37.
  20. ^ Paul Dee. "What people used to earn – What it used to cost – Research Guides at State Library of Victoria". 
  21. ^ National Archive C123/2679, dossier of the NSW security police.
  22. ^ National Archive A367, C18000/42. FLR's counsel described Hackett as a Leviathan.
  23. ^ This inference is based on his entry in the phone directory for that year: "FL Riethmuller Stkbr".
  24. ^ a b Barnes, Dave (January 1959). "Gold Medal for Titian Rose". Your Garden: 21, 23.  p. 21.
  25. ^ National Archive C123/1 Item 2679, FL Reithmuller [sic] letter dated 15 March 1928.
  26. ^ Gersekowski p. 72. Also National Archive A1202/37 and National Archive MP1103/2. See also McKinlay, Penny (2005). Journal of Heritage Roses in Australia. 27 (4): 5.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ See University of Sydney records.
  28. ^ National Archive A12102/37, hearing transcript, Dunworth testimony, p. 37. Also Travallion, KJ (1959). Australian Rose Annual: 102.  Missing or empty |title= (help) Also ANZ Rose Annual 1960 p102.
  29. ^ "Biography – Eben Gowrie Waterhouse – Australian Dictionary of Biography". 
  30. ^ National Archive A367, C18000/42, internment hearing p7.
  31. ^ Timewell, Eric (2012). "Frank Riethmuller's breeding". Australian Rose Annual: 104–9. ISSN 1038-2801. 
  32. ^ National Archive C123/15592.
  33. ^ National Archive C123/2679, "Security Service Black List" on which he remained till the end of the war.
  34. ^ It is available online as part of the Australian National Archive: NAA document MP1103/2, PWN1389
  35. ^ National Archive A12102/37
  36. ^ National Archive MP508/1 255/742/61, Report of the Advisory Committee, p3.
  37. ^ National Archive C415, 70; diaries 1929–37; ANZ Rose Annual, 1960, p102.
  38. ^ Postcards to Riethmuller's Turramurra address from a Herr Mansfeld in Germany dated 1936; Revd Timothy Jarick collection.
  39. ^ National Archive A12102/37, transcript of hearing pp3–4.
  40. ^ National Archive A12102/37, transcript of hearing, Dunmore evidence, pp37–8.
  41. ^ National Archive A12102/37, internment appeal p39.
  42. ^ Australian Rose Annual, 1960 p. 102.
  43. ^ Travallion, KJ (1959). Australian Rose Annual: 102.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  44. ^ Roger Mann, personal communication.
  45. ^ His NSW death certificate shows he died in Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital, Wahroonga on 23 April 1965, not 1966 as most writers claim. The immediate cause of death was a heart attack; the long term cause was bronchitis and related empyema.
  46. ^ University of Sydney Calendar, 1975 vol. 1. Also University records.
  47. ^ National Archive A1202/37. Transcript pp26–27.
  48. ^ Information from Merle Kiehne and Jean Jarick.
  49. ^ Dave Barnes, "Gold Medal for Titian Rose", Your Garden, 21 January 1959, p21.
  50. ^ National Archive A12102, 37, statutory declaration p.5 says Riethmuller is their whole support.
  51. ^ Timewell, Eric (Autumn 2011). "Riethmuller's Roses and Racehorses". Heritage Roses in Australia. 33 (1): 6–8. 
  52. ^ Thomas, AS (1969). Better Roses. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. pp. 90–91. 
  53. ^ a b Leonard, Suzanne (1 April 1995). "Homegrown, hip and hardy". The Age (Melbourne). p. 2. 
  54. ^ a b c Cox, Peter (1999). Australian Roses. Melbourne: Bloomings Books. pp. 36–7. ISBN 1-876473-02-9. 
  55. ^ Personal communication from Frank Hogan.
  56. ^ Quest-Ritson, Charles & Brigid (2003). The RHS Encyclopaedia of Roses. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 978-1-4053-3511-9.  p. 399.
  57. ^ Timewell, Eric (Autumn 2012). "Riethmuller's 'Esmeralda'". Heritage Roses in Australia. 34 (1): 39–41. 
  58. ^ Personal communication, Bonita Cattell.
  59. ^ RogerMann personal communication.
  60. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Riethmuller, Frank L.' plant lists". 
  61. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Alma' Rose". 
  62. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Orange Triumph' Rose". 
  63. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Eutin' Rose". 
  64. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Amore' Rose". 
  65. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Carabella' Rose". 
  66. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Gartendirektor Otto Linne' Rose". 
  67. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Carmel Bice' Rose". 
  68. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Chip's Apple Blossom' Rose". 
  69. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Claret Cup' Rose". 
  70. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Denise McClelland' Rose". 
  71. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Amy Johnson' Rose". 
  72. ^ HelpMeFind. "'New Yorker' Rose". 
  73. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Elaine White' Rose". 
  74. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Esmeralda' Rose". 
  75. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Evelyn Buchan' Rose". 
  76. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Luis Brinas' Rose". 
  77. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Crimson Glory' Rose". 
  78. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Filagree' Rose". 
  79. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Sterling' Rose". 
  80. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Florrie Joyce' Rose". 
  81. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Galah' Rose". 
  82. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Gay Vista' Rose". 
  83. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Gayness' Rose". 
  84. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Helios' Rose". 
  85. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Honeyflow' Rose". 
  86. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Kwinana' Rose". 
  87. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Lady Woodward' Rose". 
  88. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Heinrich Wendland' Rose". 
  89. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Elli Knab' Rose". 
  90. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Ngarla' Rose". 
  91. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Pearl Costin' Rose". 
  92. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Plaisante' Rose". 
  93. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Rubens' Rose". 
  94. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Silverelda' Rose". 
  95. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Nancy Wilson' Rose". 
  96. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Snow Spray' Rose". 
  97. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Spring Song' Rose". 
  98. ^ HelpMeFind. "'Titian' Rose". 
  99. ^ Denise Serbutt, "Australian Bred Roses in the Heritage Rose Garden of the Orange Botanic Garden", Journal of Heritage Roses in Australia, 35 (1) 2013, 43–47.
  100. ^ Victoria State Rose Garden at Werribee Park
  101. ^ Kinsey, Melanie. "Interview with John Nieuwesteeg". Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  102. ^ "Ruston's Roses – Australia's Largest Rose Garden and home to the National Rose Collection of Australia". 
  103. ^ Martin Tung Image Direct. "Morwell Centenary Rose Garden". 
  104. ^ "Australian Rose Maze & Three Women's Stories – The Kodja Place". 
  105. ^ "National Archive of Australia online". Series MP1103/2 control PWN1389 barcode 776278. 1940. Retrieved 10 May 2012.