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Who We Are and What We Do

The Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) - ANPSA - caters for people interested in Australia's native flora whether that interest is simple appreciation of the beauty and diversity of the flora or whether it extends to propagation, cultivation and conservation. ANPSA's origin dates back to the early 1950s - the idea of a Society dedicated to the cultivation of Australian plants initiated with Arthur Swaby who, for several years from May 1954, wrote a column "Know Your Natives" in the popular gardening magazine "Your Garden".

As a result of Swaby's initiative, the first regional Society was established in 1957 in Victoria. The idea was quickly taken up in other parts of Australia to form the independent, non-profit, Regional Societies which are based in each of the six Australian States and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

   ANPSA History - Book Cover

ANPSA, itself, was formed in 1962 to foster the interchange of ideas and information throughout Australia and to coordinate issues extending beyond regional boundaries. Prior to December 2008 the organisation's name was the Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP). The name was changed to better reflect the wider interests of members, which extend beyond cultivation of Australian native plants. ANPSA is an administrative body and does not have individuals as members. Individual membership is available through the State and Territory-based Member Societies.

A brief history of the Society can be found here.

To celebrate the Society's 50th Anniversary, a detailed history was published in 2007. The book not only documents the Society's history and Arthur Swaby's role but also tells the story of the pioneer growers of Australian native plants in the period before the Society was formed. The book was researched and written by John Walter and published by the Australian Plants Society (Victoria).

Further information on the book, including a review and purchasing details, can be found here.

Since their inception, the Member Societies have continued to grow and expand their activities. In total, the combined membership of the seven Societies numbers about 9000 and includes almost 100 District Groups serving members in regional centres.

The Society's activities are wide ranging and include special interest Study Groups and support of research through the Australian Flora Foundation. The Society is also involved in the publication of a range of practical and educational books on Australian plants and its members have been responsible for the establishment, development and maintenance of many public gardens and reserves throughout Australia. Other promotional activities undertaken by Member Societies include annual exhibitions of Australian plants where the general public can view examples of the flora from all parts of the continent.

Although the great majority are Australian residents, the Society's members can be found in many other countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium and the United States. If you are interested in the Australian flora in any capacity, why not consider joining?

Aims and Objectives ....spreading the word

The aims of the Society can be summed up as growing, conserving and appreciating the Australian flora. This includes the following activities:

  • Encouraging the growing and use of Australian native plants in home gardens, public places and for revegetation projects and rural planting.
  • Supporting the nursery industry in the development of better forms of Australian native plants as garden subjects.
  • Promoting and supporting the study, cultivation and appreciation of Australian native plants.
  • Communicating knowledge about Australian plants through wildflower festivals, publishing, websites, periodicals, CDs, meetings and seminars.
  • Protecting Australian native plants in their natural habitats and encouraging the cultivation of endangered species in botanical gardens and other reserves.
  • Taking part in decision making by Government departments.

The Australian Plants Award

The biennial Australian Plants Award was established in 1983. It is presented by ANPSA to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the knowledge of Australian plants, whether members of the Society or not. Since 1987 the Award has been made in both professional and amateur categories. The Award is made in conjunction with ANPSA's Conference and Seminar (see below).

The recipients of the award are shown in the following table. The citations prepared to accompany the nominations for the particular individuals can be seen by clicking the highlighted years. Unfortunately not all citations are available.

Year Professional Award Amateur Award
George Althofer (NSW)
No Award
1987 Brian Grieve (WA) Peter & Hazel Althofer (NSW)
1989 Winifred Curtis (Tas)  
1991 Enid Robertson (SA) Elizabeth George (WA)
1993 Marion Blackwell (WA) Bill Payne (NSW)
1995 Rodger Elliot (Vic) Fred Rogers (Vic); David Gordon (Qld)
1997 Neil Marriott (Vic); Alan Gray (Tas) Ivan Holliday (SA); Alby Lindner (Vic)
1999 Gregory Keighery (WA); David Jones (ACT) David Hockings (Qld); Brian Powell (SA)
2001 lan Fraser (ACT); Lawrie Smith (Qld) Gwyn & Geoff Clarke (ACT)
2004 Gwen Harden (NSW) Irene Champion (Qld); Marion & John Simmons (Tas)
2005 John Knight (NSW); George Lullfitz (WA) Eileen Croxford (WA); Rosemary Pedler (SA)
2007 Peter Bostock (Qld); Elizabeth Corbett (Tas) Dick Burns (Tas); Jan Sked (Qld)
2009 Bob Dixon (WA) Merv Hodge (Qld)
2011 Gwen Elliot (Vic) Ken Warnes (SA)
2013 Angus Stewart (NSW) Hazel Dempster (WA)

ANPSA Conference and Seminar

Every two years ANPSA holds a Conference where matters concerning the operation and functions of the Society and its member branches are discussed. Each Conference is organised and hosted by one of the seven regional branches, on a rotating basis. The conference schedule is as follows:

  • 2015: Canberra - Further information, including registration details, are now available on the 2015 Conference website.
  • 2017; Tasmania.
  • 2019: Western Australia.
  • 2021: New South Wales.
  • 2023: Victoria.
  • 2025; South Australia.
  • 2027: Queensland.

Associated with each Conference is a week-long seminar including field trips to gardens and natural areas. The Seminar program usually comprises a series of lectures by expert speakers interspersed with the field trips. Two special features are part of each Seminar program:

  • The AJ Swaby Address by an eminent authority in the field of horticulture or science of Australian native plants.
  • The presentation of ANPSA Australian Plants Awards. These awards are issued in Professional and Amateur categories and recognise outstanding achievements in the field of Australian native plants.

Other features of the Conference/Seminar program are the Pre- and Post-Conference Tours. These guided tours allow participants to experience the diversity of the flora of the host State and are usually of 5 days duration.

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