ACT Heritage Library Manuscript Collections

HMSS 0406 AE Bruce 

Scope and Content Notes 

Call Number HMSS 0406
Collection AE Bruce
Date Range 1927-1974
Quantity 0.02 m (1 object bag)
Access Conditions open
Copying Conditions with attribution
Related Collections
 

Alexander Dickson Esson Bruce was born at Arbuthnot, Kincardineshire, Scotland on 8 February 1884, the fifth son of William, a farmer, and his wife Martha. One brother, William, became a professor of agriculture in Scotland, his sister Elizabeth a doctor in New York, and another brother Samuel a university lecturer in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Alexander was educated at public schools, served an apprenticeship on the estate of Sir Henry Cook in Midlothian, received botanical training at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh and technical training at Heriot Watt College, Edinburgh and the Edinburgh and East of Scotland College of Agriculture. He was appointed assistant instructor of horticulture, and worked at Cheshire County Council in England before coming alone to Western Australia in 1910.

For a year he had various jobs: at Narrogin (shovelling gravel), Collie (pruning fruit trees), Collie coalmine (looking after horses, working underground, then in the blacksmith’s shop). In December 1911 returned to Scotland to persuade his wife Catherine, whom he had married in 1904, to emigrate to WA. Their eldest children, David and Robert, were born in Scotland; Janet, William ‘Bill’ and Daisy in Collie, Western Australia, and Jessie in Fremantle.

On 29 July 1912 the Bruce family arrived in Fremantle. In 1912 Alexander returned to Collie mine looking after horses and working underground; in 1917 he was appointed Assistant Manager of the State Nursery at Hamel, but after recovering from diphtheria returned to Collie. In 1918 he was appointed Curator Parks and Gardens, Fremantle Municipal Council, then Curator Parks and Gardens, Subiaco Municipal Council. In 1925 he toured South Australia, Victoria and NSW studying horticulture, and in November was appointed Deputy (or Assistant) Superintendent Parks and Gardens, Canberra.

Alexander arrived in Canberra in January 1926, the rest of the family following in May. On Charles Weston’s retirement in November Bruce was appointed Acting Superintendent Parks and Gardens. In July 1928 Bruce was appointed Superintendent Parks and Gardens, Canberra but it was not until July 1932 that he was finally admitted to the Commonwealth Public Service and his appointment as Superintendent confirmed. During his time in Canberra he was responsible for planting 3.2 million trees and shrubs, having in most cases also prepared the planting plans.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society of England in 1928, life member of the Victorian Tree Planters Association in 1929, and life member of the Horticultural Society of Canberra in 1932. He died in 1964.

His daughter Jessie Gibbs donated the collection to the ACT Heritage Library. It consisted of 144 photographs, various documents and audio recordings. The photographs have been digitised and the originals housed within the numbered sequence of images indexed in ImagesACT. 

Box List

BOX NO.

DESCRIPTION                                                                                                 

QUANTITY

DATE RANGE

1

7 inch 45 rpm vinyl record of interview between A E Bruce and his grandson John Bruce, son of his eldest son David who stayed in Western Australia when the family moved to Canberra

1 record

1959

1

Audiocassette copy of 7 inch record; possibly not all of the recording is on the cassette

1 audiocassette

1959

1

Photocopies of handwritten biographical notes: 2 pages by A E Bruce, 22 March 1935, and 5 pages by one of his children, undated

7 pages

1935; undated

1

Booklet: The “National” rose gardens of Canberra, by A E Bruce and A G Butler; sequel to an article published in the previous year’s Rose Annual. Handwritten note on first page: “To Mum with compliments. AEB 20/7/33”

1 booklet

1933

1

Synopsis of Programme of Official opening of Parliament House, Canberra by HRH The Duke of York, KG, 9th May 1927

1 booklet

9 May 1927

1

Photocopy of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette no. 99: National Memorials Ordinance 1928, giving the nomenclature of divisions of, and public places in the Canberra City District

1 booklet

20 September 1928

1

Coresearch numbers 186 and 189 containing notice of death and a commemorative tree planting ceremony for Alexander’s son Bill Bruce of the CSIRO Division of Entomology

2 newsletter issues

1974

  

 Image List

Image number

Link to Images ACT

Caption

Photographer

Date taken

Location

009778

009778

A E Bruce, Superintendent Parks and Gardens, standing in the blossom drive at Yarralumla Nursery

Mildenhall, William James

 

Yarralumla, ACT

009779

009779

Group of men and women, probably conference delegates, posed in a forested area

 

circa 1929

VIC

009780

009780

Group of men and women, probably conference delegates, seated in a forested area

 

circa 1929

VIC

009781

009781

Group of male delegates to a conference, posed against a hedge

Darge

circa 1930

Melbourne, VIC

009782

009782

Members of the Victorian Tree Planters Association at a conference in Melbourne 5-7 April 1933

 

April 1933

Melbourne, VIC

009783

009783

Parliament House, Canberra, viewed from the Senate end. A street light is at right, and a fire hydrant at left

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1930

Parkes, ACT

009784

009784

Spring flower show at the Albert Hall

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Yarralumla, ACT

009785

009785

Members of the Royal Institute of Parks and Recreation, in Melbourne for a conference

Frazer, C J

1920s

Melbourne, VIC

009786

009786

Federal Capital Commission offices

Mildenhall, William James

1924

Acton, ACT

009787

009787

Hotel Canberra from the air

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Yarralumla, ACT

009788

009788

Parliament House under construction, an aerial view from Queen Victoria Terrace to Parkes Place

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Parkes, ACT

009789

009789

Acton Offices and Government Nursery, an aerial view looking southeast to Kingston and the Causeway

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Acton, ACT

009790

009790

Hotel Canberra and Parliament House, aerial view looking east

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Yarralumla, ACT

009791

009791

Parliament House under construction, aerial view from Parkes Place to Capital Hill

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Parkes, ACT

009792

009792

Subiaco Municipal Council, posed in front of a palm tree by a timber building

 

circa 1925

Subiaco, WA

009793

009793

Flier for an illustrated lantern slide lecture on Canberra, to be given at West's Picture Gardens by A E Bruce

 

circa 1927

Subiaco, WA

009794

009794

A E Bruce, left, and Charles Weston, both holding rolled plans, standing near blossom trees at Yarralumla Nursery

Mildenhall, William James

1926

Yarralumla, ACT

009795

009795

Charles Weston MBE and A E Bruce MBE, who laid the foundations of Canberra's gardens and landscaping

Mildenhall, William James

1926

Yarralumla, ACT

009796

009796

Commonwealth Offices East Block, rear and eastern faces viewed from Kings Avenue

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1926

Parkes, ACT

009797

009797

Commonwealth Offices East Block, front and east faces viewed from Parliament House

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1926

Parkes, ACT

009798

009798

Parliament House being given final construction details

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1927

Parkes, ACT

009799

009799

Prime Minister’s Lodge

Mildenhall, William James

May 1927

Deakin, ACT

009800

009800

Duke of York walking with Sir John Butters, head of the National Capital Commission

Mildenhall, William James

10/05/1927

Canberra, ACT

009801

009801

Duke and Duchess of York at the opening of Parliament House, Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

09/05/1927

Parkes, ACT

009802

009802

Canberra citizens walk past the Duke and Duchess of York, on the front steps of Parliament House, Canberra, during a civic reception

Mildenhall, William James

10/05/1927

Parkes, ACT

009803

009803

Opening of Parliament House and Federal Parliament, Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

09/05/1927

Parkes, ACT

009804

009804

Preparations for the opening of Parliament House, Canberra

Cooper, L Theo H

May 1927

Parkes, ACT

009805

009805

Architects impression of Parliament House, drawn by D W Crawford from the design by John Smith Murdoch, architect

 

1930

Parkes, ACT

009806

009806

Parliament House viewed from the northwest, showing the front and western faces

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Parkes, ACT

009807

009807

Parliament House, Commonwealth Offices West Block, and the Hotel Canberra, looking south from City Hill

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Parkes, ACT

009808

009808

Parliament House, Canberra, aerial view from Capital Hill looking north to King Edward Terrace

Mildenhall, William James

30/06/1929

Parkes, ACT

009809

009809

Commonwealth Offices East Block, from the roof of Parliament House looking southeast over the House of Representatives courtyard

Mildenhall, William James

1929

Parkes, ACT

009810

009810

Commonwealth Offices West Block, from the roof of Parliament House looking west over the Senate courtyard

Mildenhall, William James

1929

Parkes, ACT

009811

009811

Central Canberra, looking southwest from Mount Ainslie across Reid and Civic Centre to Mount Stromlo and the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Canberra, ACT

009812

009812

Central Canberra from Mount Ainslie, looking southwest across Reid and Civic Centre to Mount Stromlo and the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Canberra, ACT

009813

009813

Sewage Treatment Works, trickle filtration tanks, Weston Creek, looking north

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Weston, ACT

009814

009814

Sewage Treatment Works, Imhoff sedimentation tanks, Weston Creek, looking north

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Weston, ACT

009815

009815

Excavations for the Institute of Anatomy building

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Acton, ACT

009816

009816

Excavations for the Institute of Anatomy building

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Acton, ACT

009817

009817

Kingston, view from Kingston Power House looking west across Telopea Park to Barton

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Barton, ACT

009818

009818

Kingston, looking southwest to Griffith and Manuka

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Kingston, ACT

009819

009819

Albert Hall, Hotel Acton and the Institute of Anatomy, looking northwest from the Prime Ministers Office at Parliament House

Mildenhall, William James

1929

Parkes, ACT

009820

009820

Houses in Forrest, looking towards Red Hill

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Forrest, ACT

009821

009821

Houses in Forrest

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Forrest, ACT

009822

009822

Hydroelectric substation

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Kingston, ACT

009823

009823

Electricity transmission line from Burrinjuck Hydro-Electric Station to Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Kingston, ACT

009824

009824

Sewage Treatment Works, trickle filtration tank with humus tank in front, Weston Creek, looking south

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Weston, ACT

009825

009825

Sewage Treatment Works, activated sludge tank and three trickle filtration tanks, looking northeast

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Weston, ACT

009826

009826

Cotter Dam, near Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1929

ACT

009827

009827

Hotel Ainslie (later Olims Ainslie Hotel), looking southwest to Black Mountain

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Braddon, ACT

009828

009828

Hotel Wellington, Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Forrest, ACT

009829

009829

Beauchamp House, Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Acton, ACT

009830

009830

Hotel Canberra, from Commonwealth Avenue looking northwest to Acton and Black Mountain

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Yarralumla, ACT

009831

009831

Oil fuelled plant at Federal Capital Commission office, Acton

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Acton, ACT

009832

009832

Part of the engineers' laboratory, Acton

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Acton, ACT

009833

009833

Albert Hall, Canberra, northern face

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Yarralumla, ACT

009834

009834

Brassey House, Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Barton, ACT

009835

009835

Pre-mixed concrete plant

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Kingston, ACT

009836

009836

Section of concrete roadway

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Kingston, ACT

009837

009837

Kingston, aerial view from the Molonglo River looking southwest to the shopping centre

Mildenhall, William James

30/06/1929

Kingston, ACT

009838

009838

Kingston, aerial view looking southwest from the lower slopes of Mount Pleasant across the industrial area

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Kingston, ACT

009839

009839

Commonwealth Offices West Block, west face from Commonwealth Avenue

Mildenhall, William James

1929

Parkes, ACT

009840

009840

Commonwealth Offices West Block, west face from Queen Victoria Terrace

Mildenhall, William James

1929

Parkes, ACT

009841

009841

Architects model of the future Government Group and Parkes, looking north

Mildenhall, William James

1920s

Parkes, ACT

009842

009842

Architects drawing of proposed building for Government Printing Office and departments

Mildenhall, William James

1920s

Parkes, ACT

009843

009843

Reid and Braddon, aerial view looking northwest

Mildenhall, William James

30/06/1929

Reid, ACT

009844

009844

Braddon, aerial view looking north

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Braddon, ACT

009845

009845

Anzac Park (later Anzac Parade), aerial view from Mount Ainslie looking southwest to the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

1925

Canberra, ACT

009846

009846

Anzac Park (later Anzac Parade) and Parliament House, aerial view from Mount Ainslie looking southwest to the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Canberra, ACT

009847

009847

St Gabriels Church of England Girls School, later Canberra Girls Grammar School

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Deakin, ACT

009848

009848

Government Nursery, Acton, aerial view from Administrative Offices looking southeast to Parliament House

Mildenhall, William James

1929

Acton, ACT

009849

009849

Engineers laboratory, Acton

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Acton, ACT

009850

009850

Cropped version of 009832

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Acton, ACT

009851

009851

Pink flowering peach trees, Federal Capital Commission office area

Mildenhall, William James

September 1929

Acton, ACT

009852

009852

Pink flowering peach trees, Federal Capital Commission

Mildenhall, William James

September 1929

Acton, ACT

009853

009853

Parliament House, Canberra and Commonwealth Offices West Block, aerial view looking west

Mildenhall, William James

30/06/1929

Parkes, ACT

009854

009854

Parliament House, northeast corner

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Parkes, ACT

009855

009855

Melbourne Building, Civic Centre

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1929

Canberra City, ACT

009856

009856

Parliament House and Commonwealth Offices East and West Blocks, looking southwest from Mount Ainslie to the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

1929

Parkes, ACT

009857

009857

Hotel Canberra, aerial view looking southwest

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Yarralumla, ACT

009858

009858

Department of Works building, Civic Centre

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Canberra City, ACT

009859

009859

Kingston shopping centre

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Kingston, ACT

009860

009860

Manuka shopping centre, looking from Flinders Way along Franklin Street

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Griffith, ACT

009861

009861

Ainslie Primary School

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Braddon, ACT

009862

009862

Kingston Shopping Centre, Giles Street near Tench Street

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Kingston, ACT

009863

009863

Building the roof of CSIRO Black Mountain offices

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Acton, ACT

009864

009864

Parliament House, Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1929

Parkes, ACT

009865

009865

Sydney and Melbourne Buildings, Civic Centre, looking north from City Hill

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1929

Canberra City, ACT

009866

009866

Hotel Canberra, Albert Hall and Acton, aerial view from Commonwealth Avenue looking northwest to Black Mountain

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Yarralumla, ACT

009867

009867

Kingston, Forrest and Griffith, aerial view from Red Hill looking northeast

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1929

Forrest, ACT

009868

009868

Staff housing at Mount Stromlo Solar Observatory

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Mt Stromlo, ACT

009869

009869

Administration building for the Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Mount Stromlo

Mildenhall, William James

June 1929

Mt Stromlo, ACT

009870

009870

Reynolds telescope dome at Mount Stromlo

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1930

Mt Stromlo, ACT

009871

009871

Toms Crescent, Ainslie

Mildenhall, William James

1930

Ainslie, ACT

009872

009872

Parliament House, Canberra, showing plantings by A E Bruce, aerial view from the Ladies Rose Garden looking northwest to Acton

Mildenhall, William James

1933

Parkes, ACT

009873

009873

Parliament House and the Albert Hall, aerial view from the House of Representatives Garden looking northwest to Acton

Mildenhall, William James

1933

Parkes, ACT

009874

009874

Parliament House and Commonwealth Offices West Block, aerial view from the National Rose Gardens looking southwest

Mildenhall, William James

1933

Parkes, ACT

009875

009875

Commonwealth Offices West Block, viewed from Old Parliament House across the Senate tennis courts

Mildenhall, William James

1930

Parkes, ACT

009876

009876

Commonwealth Bridge over the main Molonglo River course, aerial view from the later Acton Peninsula looking southeast to Mount Pleasant

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Parkes, ACT

009877

009877

Ploughing using a horse-drawn plough on the floodplain of the Molonglo River below Parliament House

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Parkes, ACT

009878

009878

Parliament House and Commonwealth Offices East Block, looking south to Mount Mugga Mugga

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1930

Parkes, ACT

009879

009879

Telopea Park School

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Barton, ACT

009880

009880

Hotel Canberra

 

1930s

Yarralumla, ACT

009881

009881

Reynolds telescope dome, Mount Stromlo

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Mt Stromlo, ACT

009882

 

Not used

 

 

 

009883

009883

A E Bruce planting a seedling from the Hovell Tree in Albury Botanic Gardens

 

1930s

Albury, NSW

009884

009884

Planting a seedling from the Hovell Tree at the Albury Botanic Gardens

 

1930s

Albury, NSW

009885

009885

Hotel Canberra and Albert Hall, looking northwest from Commonwealth Offices West Block

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Yarralumla, ACT

009886

009886

Reid and Acton, aerial view from Mount Ainslie looking southwest to the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Reid, ACT

009887

009887

Anzac Park (later Anzac Parade) and Parliament House from Mount Ainslie looking southwest to the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Reid, ACT

009888

009888

Government House, Canberra, east face

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Yarralumla, ACT

009889

009889

Government House, Canberra, east face

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Yarralumla, ACT

009890

009890

Central Canberra, aerial view from Mount Ainslie looking southwest to the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Reid, ACT

009891

009891

Central Canberra, aerial view from Mount Ainslie looking southwest to the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Reid, ACT

09892

009892

Ainslie Hotel, later Olims Ainslie Hotel, front entrance from Limestone Avenue looking northwest to Black Mountain

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Braddon, ACT

009893

009893

Sydney Building and Hotel Civic

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Canberra City, ACT

009894

009894

Melbourne Building, Civic Centre, southeast corner with sign Commonwealth Bank of Australia entrance

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Canberra City, ACT

009895

009895

Braddon and Ainslie, aerial view from Northbourne Oval looking northeast to Mount Majura

Mildenhall, William James

1930

Braddon, ACT

009896

009896

Parliament House, aerial view from King Edward Terrace looking southwest to Woden Valley and the Brindabella Range

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1930

Parkes, ACT

009897

009897

Imperial Airways Astraea flying over Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

28/06/1933

Canberra, ACT

009898

009898

Imperial Airways Astraea flying over Canberra

Mildenhall, William James

28/06/1933

Canberra, ACT

009899

009899

Imperial Airways Astraea at Canberra airport

Mildenhall, William James

28/06/1933

Pialligo, ACT

009900

009900

Prime Minister Mr S M Bruce opens the extended Royal Canberra Golf Links

Mildenhall, William James

10/01/1927

Acton, ACT

009901

009901

Official guests outside the [Royal] Canberra Golf Links clubhouse on the day the second clubhouse extension was officially opened

Mildenhall, William James

1933

Acton, ACT

009902

009902

F A Piggin, President of Canberra Horticultural Society, giving the opening speech for the inauguration of the National Rose Gardens

Mildenhall, William James

12/09/1933

Parkes, ACT

009903

009903

F A Piggin, A E Bruce and J A Perkins confer before Mr Perkins inaugurates the National Rose Gardens

Mildenhall, William James

12/09/1933

Parkes, ACT

009904

009904

J A Perkins, Minister for the Interior, plants the first rose in the National Rose Gardens, assisted by A E Bruce and watched by F A Piggin

Mildenhall, William James

12/09/1933

Parkes, ACT

009905

009905

F A Piggin planting a rose on behalf of the Canberra Horticultural Society at the inauguration of the National Rose Gardens

Mildenhall, William James

12/09/1933

Parkes, ACT

009906

009906

A E Bruce (left) and F A Piggin assist a lady to plant a rose at the inauguration of the National Rose Gardens

Mildenhall, William James

12/09/1933

Parkes, ACT

009907

009907

Street in Ainslie, probably Toms Crescent

Mildenhall, William James

05/09/1933

Ainslie, ACT

009908

009908

Second Commonwealth Avenue Bridge

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1925

Parkes, ACT

009909

009909

Burns Memorial after the unveiling

Mildenhall, William James

26/01/1935

Forrest, ACT

009910

009910

Staff of the Government Nursery at Yarralumla; Bruce is 3rd from left.

Mildenhall, William James

03/06/1934

Yarralumla, ACT

009911

009911

A E Bruce; hand-coloured photograph probably taken at Yarralumla Nursery

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Yarralumla, ACT

009912

009912

Henry Duke of Gloucester at Government House, Canberra, with A E Bruce, Alec Scott and an aide-de-camp

Mildenhall, William James

1934

Yarralumla, ACT

009913

009913

Kingston shopping centre, Giles Street near the junction with Tench Street

Mildenhall, William James

1934

Kingston, ACT

009914

009914

Avenue of prunus trees in flower, probably at Yarralumla Nursery

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Yarralumla, ACT

009915

009915

Melbourne and Sydney Buildings, corner of Northbourne Avenue and London Circuit

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Canberra City, ACT

009916

009916

Sydney Building and Northbourne Avenue from City Hill looking north

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Canberra City, ACT

009917

009917

A E Bruce

Mildenhall, William James

1930

 

009918

009918

A E Bruce

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

 

009919

009919

Sir John Butters, chairman of the Federal Capital Commission, in his office

Mildenhall, William James

1920s

Acton, ACT

009920

009920

Group of 55 men, probably employees of the Works and Services Branch Canberra, Department of Interior, outside the Engineer's Department building

Mildenhall, William James

1930s

Acton, ACT

009921

009921

Federal Capital Commission officers on the steps of the FCC Offices

Mildenhall, William James

circa 1929

Acton, ACT

009922

009922

Lord Gowrie, Governor-General of Australia, in ceremonial dress uniform

J Russell & Sons, 63 Baker St, W1

1930s

London, UK

009923

009923

Zara, Lady Gowrie in military uniform

Luke, Monte

1940s

Sydney, NSW