The Ryde suburb of Denistone East in Sydney’s north-west is a pleasant, leafy part of the city, but the district has a unique claim to fame.
In 1868, a housewife named Maria Anna Smith harvested juicy, crispy green apples from a tree in her backyard. These apples are now known as Granny Smiths, of course.
There are two versions of Mrs Smith’s brush with botanic fame. The first claims that on returning from market, Mrs Smith sorted through a case of Tasmanian fruit to cull the rotten apples which she tossed into a nearby creek bed where they duly seeded and yielded the chance hybrid.
The second has the lady throwing cores and seeds into the kitchen garden which duly produced the first Granny. Thus Maria bequeathed enduring fame and an annual Apple Festival to Denistone.
Her name lives on in Granny Smith Park, a small green oasis on the suburban border between Denistone and Marsfield near the location of her original garden which became an historic orchard.