“Who would not be pleased to do even a little towards the advancement of one’s own country?”

(Source: A W. Howard’s diaries)

Amos William Howard was born in Hertfordshire England in 1848, arriving in Australia in 1876 where in 1889, he settled in Blakiston in the Adelaide Hills, establishing a nursery producing daffodils, tulips, roses and garden shrubs. On a pleasant summer day in 1889 serendipity occurred. Amos wandered down to see his neighbour Mr Michael Daley to buy a cow. It is rural legend that Mr Daley was delayed so Amos took a walk along the local creek and was attracted by a plant growing along the local creek ‘exhibiting unusual’ habit including growth and prolific nature of reproduction.’ Recognising its potential for Australian ‘Mediterranean’ agriculture Amos commenced a breeding program.

Amos became a strong advocate for subterranean clover releasing his first variety in 1906 (Mt Barker).

Through Howard’s foresight, devotion and tireless effort, the value of subterranean clover was firmly established and has become the most important pasture plant in Australia.  

The contribution of Amos W Howard to Australian agriculture has been recognised in a number of ways including Mt Barker Agricultural Bureau Howard Memorial gates at the Mt Barker Showgrounds and the inclusion sub-clover in the Mt Barker City coat of arms. His name is also immortalised in the local commercial Howard Vineyard and Cellar Door on the site of his discovery.

(Words and research by Professor Rob Lewis PSM ATSE)


The clover seed derives its name by it’s peculiar manner of developing its seed pods beneath (subterranean) the surface of the soil. The stems are of a creeping habit and can measure 4-5 feet in length. Benefits of clover seed include; increased carrying capacity of stock, when it is cut green is makes good hay and most importantly for the production of grapes in our vineyard it improves the soil through the introduction of nitrogen.