George Robert Knight

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George Robert Knight (1879–1961) was an Australian rose breeder. He retains four of his roses in Australian public collections.[1]


George Robert Knight, born 17 June 1879 at Concord, New South Wales, was the son of John Knight, publican of the Horse and Jockey hotel, Homebush. George started work in a rose nursery at the age of 12. At 18 he started his own nursery, later known as George Knight & Sons, in Parramatta Road, Homebush. The nursery eventually also had 40 acres of land in Meurants Lane, Parklea; 10 acres in Greenwood Road, Kellyville; and 10 acres in Old Windsor Road, Parklea.[2][3]

Knight himself had three nurseryman sons, in order George John, Henry Frederick and Clifton Robert.[2]

He was a friend of fellow Australian breeders Alister Clark and Olive Fitzhardinge and fellow NSW rose-nurserymen the Hazlewood Brothers.[4]

Rose breeding[edit]

George Knight bred seven known roses, listed below. They were released for sale through his own nursery.

'Mother's Day' is still sold in the U.S.[2] as was 'Nigger Boy', though "this was regarded as an offensive title in America and the listing of the rose or even the mention of it in the daily press caused racial troubles in the States."[5] The controversy was fanned by the rose's American promoter, Roy Hennessey.

The Australian registrar of roses and president of the National Rose Society of Victoria was A.S. Thomas. The 1967 edition of his Better Roses prints a list of eighty "highly prized cultivars" from Australia and New Zealand. Twenty of them are roses by Alister Clark. Seven are by Frank Riethmuller. Two are by George Knight: 'Mother's Day' and 'Nigger Boy'.[6]

Sortable list of George Robert Knight roses[2][7][edit]

Name Date Type Colour Seed parent Pollen parent Extant
Beauty of New South Wales 1932 Polyantha Red, white centre Orléans Rose Alice Amos Yes
Dainty Dawn 1932 Polyantha Light pink Amaury Fonseca Annchen Müller Lost
Little Princess 1937 Polyantha Orange Unknown Unknown Unknown
Miss Australia 1931 Hybrid tea Pink Dame Edith Helen Madame Segond Weber Yes
Mother's Day 1937 Hybrid tea White with pink Unknown Unknown Yes
Nigger Boy 1931 Hybrid tea Dark red Hadley Yves Druhen Yes
Peter Pan 1935 Hybrid tea Crimson Unknown Unknown Lost

Where the roses can be seen[edit]

  • 'Beauty of NSW' is in the rose gardens at Budatéteny in Hungary.
  • 'Miss Australia' is in Adelaide Botanic Gardens and at Europa-Rosarium at Sangerhausen in Germany.
  • 'Mother's Day' is commercially available in England, Canada and the U.S. but extinct in Australia.

Articles written by Knight[edit]

  • George Robert Knight,"Tea roses in NSW", Australian Rose Annual, 1931, p. 10
  • George Robert Knight, "New roses in 1933", Australian Rose Annual, 1933, p. 114


  1. ^ National Rose Collection of Australia
  2. ^ a b c d Help Me Find Roses entry for Knight, George Robert, substantially due to Patricia Routley of Heritage Roses in Australia.
  3. ^ Obituary, Australian Rose Annual 1962 p. 130.
  4. ^ Prudence Bryant (Olive Fitzhardinge's second daughter), Journal of Heritage Roses in Australia, 1980 Vol 2, No. 4, p.2. Text kindly provided by Patricia Routley.
  5. ^ Thomas, A.S. (1969). Better roses (fifth edition). Sydney: Angus and Robertson.  p. 88.
  6. ^ Thomas, A.S. (1969). Better roses (fifth edition). Sydney: Angus and Robertson.  pp. 90–91.
  7. ^ Cox, Peter (1999). Australian roses : roses and rose breeders of Australia. Hawthorn, Vic.: Bloomings Books. p. 31. ISBN 1-876473-02-9.