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The Granny Smith Apple Thomas and Maria Smith, like their neighbours, were orchardists. From the earliest days of European settlement the district of Ryde had enjoyed a reputation for fruit growing. Oranges, apricots, grapes, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, apples and pears all flourished. Some orchardists specialised in fruit varieties of their own raising, including seedling apples. One such was the Granny Smith. The earliest account of the origin of the Granny Smith appeared in the Farmer and Settler of 25 June 1924, in an article by Herbert Rumsey, a Dundas orchardist and local historian. He interviewed local fruit-grower Edwin Small who recalled that in 1868 he and his father had been invited by Maria to examine a seedling apple growing by a creek on her farm. She explained that the seedling had developed from the remains of some French crab apples grown in Tasmania. The Granny Smith is today recognised as a fixed mutation or 'sport'. Maria Smith died in 1870. Her apple never became a commercial variety in her lifetime but continued to be cultivated by local orchardists. It was exhibited as 'Smith's seedling' in the 1890 Castle Hill Agricultural and Horticultural Show. In the 1891 show 'Granny Smith's seedlings' took out the prize for cooking apples. By 1892 many growers were exhibiting 'Granny Smith's'. In 1895 Albert H. Benson, Fruit Expert for the NSW Department of Agriculture, named 'Granny Smith's Seedling' as a suitable variety for export. He also initiated the first large scale cultivation of the apple at the Government Experimental Station in Bathurst. Maria Ann Smith died on 9 March 1870 and was buried in St. Anne's Cemetery, Ryde. Her husband died six years later. Their headstone still stands in the churchyard. Written by John Spurway, great-great grandson of Granny Smith and Megan Martin, former Local Studies Librarian at Ryde Library & Information Services, October 1992. These photos are provided courtesy of Ryde Library Services, and can be found on the Library Catalogue