Early History of Camellias in Australia and Victoria


The popularity of camellias in the latter part of the 19th century had waned to such an extent that nurserymen had stopped propagating them and the majority of the plants, and their names, in most nurseries had disappeared.

In the late 1930s the value of camellias as a garden plant in Australia was again becoming appreciated, and there was a steady demand for them in the early forties. Some of the nurserymen, such as Nobelius in Victoria and Hazlewood Bros. in New South Wales, were again propagating them, but were finding difficulty in their correct nomenclature.

In 1941, Nobelius had 94 different named cultivars in his catalogue and in 1945 Hazlewood Bros had put out a special camellia catalogue with 205 camellia cultivars in it. In both cases, some of them were duplicates, but it indicated that there was a distinct revival and in 1938 some had been imported from Japan.

Fortunately, a large collection of over 130 camellias had been planted, from 1875-1880, in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens and practically all of them had labels on them, but a few were found not to be correct. This assisted in the nomenclature and many cuttings were given to nurserymen from these plants for propagating. The revival of the popularity of the camellia was well on its way by the late forties.


Brief Account of the Australian Camellia Research Society (Victorian Branch)
Now named Camellias Victoria Inc.

By Alex W. JESSEP, 1955 to 1976.


In September 1949, Mrs. Austen Gatehouse and Dr. C.R. Merrillees - both very keen camellia growers - contacted the then Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens - Mr. A.W. Jessep - and suggested that a camellia society was a possibility as there were several specialist flower societies, such as rose, gladiolus, dahlia and chrysanthemum. Camellias were becoming popular and a society would create interest and disseminate knowledge of their correct nomenclature and local cultural requirements.

In 1950, the Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens attended the Camellia Conference in England where interspecific hybrids were seen and 18 reticulatas from Kunming were illustrated in colour and described by Dr. H. Hu from the Yunnan Province of China. It was realised that the nomenclature of camellias was even more confused in the United Kingdom than in Australia.

A Camellia Society had not materialised in Victoria, but in July 1951 a group of enthusiasts staged a small display in the Melbourne Lower Town Hall in which the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria was conducting its meeting. Professor E.G. Waterhouse, from Sydney, who had also attended the London Camellia Conference, was in Melbourne and attended the R.H.S.V. meeting. When he realised that a Victorian Camellia Society was contemplated, he suggested that it be enlarged to an Australian body and this was accepted in preference to a Victorian Society.

In 1952, the following agreed to form an Australian Society with Professor Waterhouse as Honorary Secretary, Mr. Walter Hazlewood (New South Wales ) as Treasurer, Mr A.W. Jessep as President and Dr. C.R. Merrillees ( Victoria) as Organiser.

From April 1953, the members in Victoria met regularly for meetings in the Herbarium Hall at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens with the President ( Mr. Jessep ) as Chairman. In 1954, it was thought that such meetings should be put on an official standing with the Society. In September 1954, the Victorian members requested that the President call a meeting to discuss the Constitution and other matters concerning the Australia and New Zealand Camellia Research Society.

The meeting appointed a sub-committee to report back, not later than the end of November. The sub-committee met on 11th October and reported its findings to the adjourned meeting on 22nd November 1954. Among other matters, it recommended that the Constitution be adjusted to provide for the formation of State or local branches. At the A.N.Z.C.R.S. Annual Meeting in June, 1955 ( held at the home of Professor Waterhouse at Gordon ) it was resolved that the Society make provision in its Constitution for Branches to be formed and the members in Victoria were granted permission to form a branch to be known as the A.N.Z.C.R.S. (Victorian Branch).

The first Chairman of the Branch was Dr. C.R. Merrillees with Mr. J Moses and Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, and they remained in office until the Chairman became very ill and died on 7th April, 1959. During this period, the membership of the Branch increased from 30 to 98 members. The research and investigational problems included the nomenclature of the cultivars found in Australia, experiments in the general cultivation of the plants, forming classes and conducting an Annual Camellia Show.

In 1957, Dr. Merrillees originated the Victorian Newsletter and the Secretary posted it to all the Victorian members. This popular Newsletter has continued about 9 times per annum with slight adjustment and up to date (No. 175 of December 1975) had been disseminated. Other Branches have followed this example and it is sought after outside the local Branch.

Late in 1958, Dr. Merrillees had a grave illness which caused his death on 7th April 1959. Mr. Alfred Stewart was appointed Chairman with Mr. J. Moses Secretary and Mr. T. Savige Treasurer.

During 1960, emphasis was placed on propagation by grafting -aerial, enarching, tip grafting, side grafting and cleft grafting. It was decided that cleft grafting was the most successful for reticulatas, the seedlings of which were now available. The Czar history was finalised. The Branch Newsletter was widened to include overseas news. Branch membership was 102.

In 1960, office bearers were Dr. R.E. Harvey Chairman, Mr. Alf Stewart Honorary Secretary and (in 1961) Mr. Tom Savige Treasurer.

The monthly meetings were transferred from the Herbarium, Botanic Gardens, to a more central room at Hardware House in the city. (Mr. Stewart was an active member of the Hardware Club.) Investigations on synonyms and sports were continued -- such as the Otome, Badgen's Beauty, Pink Perfection, etc and the Prince Frederick William - Lady Hope complex. Plastic pots versus earthenware flower pots were tried. Mr. Calder presented an ELMO 25mm projector to the Branch. Field days at Clover College and Camellia Lodge Nursery were arranged.

In 1962-63, office bearers were Mr. F. Tuckfield Chairman, Mr. Matt Matthews Honorary Secretary and Mr. Ivan Hays Treasurer. Branch meetings transferred to St. Johns Church Hall, Toorak Road, for more convenience and better parking. Activities were enlarged to assist camellia show classes at the Australian-American, Box Hill Garden Club and the Ferny Creek Garden Club and judging was carried out for the camellia classes. There were investigations on reticulata seedlings and on variations in the Tea plants plus Bonsai experiments with camellia plants. Floral arrangement started for competition at the meetings.

In 1964-65, Mr. A.W. Jessep was Chairman, Mr. Matt Matthews Honorary Secretary and Mr. Ivan Hays Treasurer.There were studies of the transmission of virus by grafting --spotted Czar from virus-infected Gauntletti; Latifolia variegata when grafted on Elegans cutting. A Question Box was tried, but was not very successful. Items of Interest were introduced at meetings. Problem varieties were investigated -- Lady St.Clair, Otome, Sode Gakushi, Fred Sander. The check list of older camellias was card indexed and competition classes at monthly meetings enlarged. Camellia show classes and judging rules for camellias were adjusted and instigated. There were visits to the Botanic Gardens, Clover Cottage, Camellia Lodge and Camerons in the Dandenongs. The number of members was 149. There were demonstrations of show staging and judging.

In 1966-68, Mr. H.P. Matthews was Chairman, Mr. Jim Simpson Honorary Secretary and Mr. Fred Spencer Treasurer. Activities included: Reticulata seed and seedling experiments; opportunity table established; Camellia display at State Savings Bank by Miss Syme and Mr. H. Davis; Show schedules for camellias brought more up to date; classes for varieties in the schedules.

In 1969 Mr. Bell was Chairman, Mr. Jim Simpson Honorary Secretary and Mr. H. Davis Treasurer.

In 1970, Mr. Bell was Chairman, Mr. Ern Kettle Honorary Secretary and Mr. H. Davis Treasurer. The Alfred Stewart Memorial Library was established in honour of the great service given by Mr. Alfred Stewart to the branch, and to camellias in general. Mrs. Stewart made a valuable donation to the Library. A collection of plants was donated to the E.G. Waterhouse National Garden Society at Miranda, New South Wales. There were 136 branch members.

In 1971, Mr. H.P. Matthews was Chairman, Mr. E. Kettle Honorary Secretary and Miss Howeiron Treasurer. A position of Membership Secretary was created with Miss McDonald appointed. There was a new format with illustrations in the Newsletter. A display at C.B.A. was managed by Mr. Morgan. There was a segregation of duties for committee members of the branch.

In 1972 Mr. E. Kettle was President-Chairman (a new title according to the Constitution of the A.C.R.S.), Mr. K. Brushfield Honorary Secretary, Mr. R.A. Ball Sub-Secretary, Mr. Greenwood Newsletter Editor.

In 1973-4, Mr. E. Kettle was President-Chairman, Mr. R. Straughan Honorary Secretary. Mrs. Sperandeo was Editor, Mr. R.A. Ball Subscription Secretary.
1973 saw the first International Camellia Society Conference in Australia. There were visits to Healesville Sanctuary, Sebire's reticulatas, Clover Cottage, Mr. & Mrs. Jim Simpson's, Camellia Lodge, Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Cowes (koalas and penguins).

The first A.C.R.S. Conference hosted by the Victorian branch was in August, 1974. Also that year was the first combined Camellia Show with the Waverley Garden Club. A portable library cabinet was installed. The floral arrangement competition at the monthly meetings was revived. Also, a class for a group of three blooms was added to the monthly competition. Branch membership was 181.

In 1975 Mr. F. Spencer was President-Chairman, Mr. R. Straughan Honorary Secretary, Mr. D. Gilmour Treasurer, Mr. E. Kettle Newsletter Editor and Mr. R.A. Ball Sub-Secretary. A special seedling class was added to the monthly competition. Members took blooms to the Canberra Camellia Show. Quarantine was arranged with the Australian Rhododendron Society. There was a discussion with that Society concerning space for camellias in their Gardens. Camellia seeds and seedlings were researched. There were cuttings for research from the U.S.A. A display and Table were arranged at the Rhododendron Show at the Gardens. Membership was 183.

In 1976 Mr. L. Hobbs was President-Chairman, Mr. R. Straughan Honorary Secretary, Mr. D. Gilmour Treasurer, Mrs. Ball Sub-Secretary and Mr. E. Kettle Editor. The proposed camellia area at the Rhododendron Gardens was prepared. Contacts were made with U.S.A. people. There was a programme of propagation and maintenance of plants for the Garden. Preparations were made to receive a U.S.A. Camellia party.


The History of the A.C.R.S. (Victorian Branch) 1976 to 2000

Continued by DR. R. M. WITHERS.

The earlier history of the A.C.R.S. (Victorian Branch) from 1955 to 1976 was written by Mr. A.W. Jessep, and the following is a continuation covering the ensuing ten years by Dr. Bob Withers.

1976. Mr. A.W. Jessep was invited to become a Patron by the National Council of the A.C.R.S. Work commenced on preparing the site for the Society's Camellia Garden within the National Rhododendron Garden at Olinda, but it was held up pending further discussions with the Forestry Commission. A Research Group was formed to further the aims of the Society. Registration procedures were revised.
Project OIL (Once In a Lifetime), August 11th - 14th, a visit by members of the American Camellia Society, was led by Mr. Milton Brown.

1977-78. Mr. L. Hobbs was President-Chairman, Mr. R. Straughan Secretary, Dr. D. Lush Treasurer, Mrs. N. Ball Membership Secretary, Mr. E. Kettle Editor.

1977. There was a further import of scions from America as a result of contacts made during Project OIL. Mr L. Hobbs visited New Zealand and arranged for the import of scions of a wide range of New Zealand raised camellias. In December 1977, there was the initial planting of camellias in a nursery setting, in the Camellia Garden within the National Rhododendron Garden at Olinda.

1978. Initial planting out of camellias in a permanent landscape setting in the Camellia Garden on 26th May Hosting by Victorian Branch of the National Congress of the A.C.R.S., September 1978. The first of a series of annual displays of camellias was staged at the Royal Agricultural Show.
There was a visit by a group of members of the Japanese Camellia Society.
Mr. & Mrs. N. McMinn were awarded the E.G. Waterhouse Medal by the National Council of the A.C.R.S.

1979-81. Mr. R. Garling was President, Mr. R. Straughan Secretary, Dr. D. Lush Treasurer, Mrs .N. Ball Membership Secretary, Mrs. S. Shallcross Editor, Mr. E. Kettle A.C.R.S. National President and Mr. J. Hunt A.C.R.S. National Secretary.

1979. There was a visit by a group of members of the American Camellia Society and Mr. & Mrs. L. Rigall from South Africa on their way to the I.C.S. Congress in New Zealand. Mr. & Mrs. E. Sebire were awarded the E.G. Waterhouse Medal by the National Council of the A.C.R.S.There was the first of a series of end of year get-together dinners held at the Village Green Hotel.

In 1980, afternoon field days were introduced for Society members. There was the first of our Annual Shows and Displays of Camellias, staged at Westfield Shoppingtown, Doncaster. The first of a series of annual Camellia Shows was staged at Chadstone Shopping Centre.
Mr. & Mrs Julius Nuccio visited from the world-famous Nuccio's Nurseries in America.

1981. The Camellia Garden at Olinda progressed. Mr. R. Garling was elected to be a Director of the International Camellia Society.

In 1982, Dr. R. Withers was President-Chairman, Mrs. W. Snell Secretary, Dr. D. Lush Treasurer, Mrs. N. Ball Membership Secretary and Mrs. S. Shallcross Editor. Burnley Horticultural College became the venue for monthly meetings. Patron, Mr. A.W. Jessep, celebrated his 90th birthday. The first grafting afternoon for members was held on the first Saturday in July. There was a visit by a group of members of the American Camellia Society, led by Judge Hulyn Smith. There was an import of a number of the recently-described Kunming reticulata camellias from Dr. Bruce Bartholomew in the U.S.A.

1983-84. Dr. R. Withers was President-Chairman, Mrs. S. Shallcross Secretary, Dr. D. Lush Treasurer, Mrs. N. Ball Membership Secretary and Mr. R. Atkinson Editor.

1983. Maintenance of the Camellia Garden at Olinda was transferred back to the Committee of Management of the National Rhododendron Garden. The number of field days per year was increased. Mr. E. Kettle was awarded the Walter Hazelwood Award of Honour by the National Council of the A.C.R.S.

1984. The Victorian Branch hosted the A.C.R.S. National Conference. Mr. Nicholas Margetts was awarded a Society Scholarship to cover his three year course on Horticulture at Burnley Horticultural College. Field days for members were continued. Honorary Life Fellowship of the R.H.S.V. was conferred on the Branch's representative on the R.H.S.V. executive, Mr. L. Hobbs. The Branch's culture booklet "Successful Camellia Growing" was published.

1985-86. Office Bearers were Mr. E. Kettle President-Chairman, Mrs. S. Shallcross Secretary, Dr. D. Lush Treasurer, Mrs. N. Ball Membership Secretary, Mr. R. Atkinson Editor.

In 1985, The Ashburton Senior Citizens' Centre became the venue for branch monthly meetings. New Purposes and Rules were adopted and the Society became incorporated on 22nd. July 1985. The official name became "The Australian Camellia Research Society, Victorian Branch, Inc." Dr R. Withers was Public Officer. At the Camellia Garden at Olinda a gazebo was erected at a cost of $2,480 from the proceeds of the Mr. L. Hobbs "Pavlova" Trust Fund. Mr. A.W. Jessep resigned as National Registrar and Mr R. Garnett was appointed his successor.

There was the first of a series of competitive Camellia Shows staged at Southland Shopping Centre in conjunction with the Cheltenham Garden Club. Field days continued for members. Some members of the Victorian branch were successful in a National Photographic Competition.

A number of branch members, being Mr. & Mrs. L. Hobbs, Mr. & Mrs. T. Atkinson, Mr. & Mrs. G. Snell, Dr. & Mrs. K. Moody, Dr. J. Rouse, Mr. A. Teese, Mr. & Mrs. F. Waghorn and Dr. & Mrs. R. Withers, were honoured by the Committee of Management of the National Rhododendron Garden at Olinda by having Honorary Life Membership of the Garden conferred upon them for their services in the development of the Garden.

In 1986, the Camellia Garden in the National Rhododendron Garden was extended.

A Gold Medal was struck by the Victorian Branch in honour of the Patron, Mr. A.W. Jessep. It was to be made available to affiliated garden clubs and societies and interstate branches of the A.C.R.S. to be awarded to the best camellia bloom at a Show with a section for camellia blooms. The first Medal was presented to Mr. A.W. Jessep at the April 1986 meeting.

In 1972 the Merrillees Gold Medal became available to the Victorian Branch and the Committee decided that the medal was to be presented by the Branch as the top prestige award for outstanding service to camellias. Twelve Merrillees Gold Medals were awarded before 1986, to these members:-

1972 Mr. & Mrs. F Spencer.
1973 Mr. A.W. Jessep.
1974 Mr. I. Hays.
1975 Mr. E. Kettle.
1976 Mr. HP. Matthews.
1977 Mr. & Mrs. L. Hobbs.
1978 Mr. R. Straughan.
1979 Mr. & Mrs. R. Garling.
1981 Mrs. S. Shallcross.
1983 Mr. T. Atkinson.
1984 Dr. D. Lush
1985 Mrs. P. Shepherd.

The venue for the combined Show between the Victorian Branch and the Waverley Garden Club, which was at the Waverley High School Assembly Hall for 14 years, was changed to the Mount Waverley Community Centre.
In September, following the I.C.S. Congress in Sydney, eleven delegates from the U.S.A. and two from South Africa visited Melbourne and spent a number of days viewing Camellias here. At the Annual Branch meeting in October, a Merrillees Memorial Gold Medal was awarded to Dr. R. Withers.

In 1987-88, Mr. Rob Atkinson was President, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross Secretary, Mr. Fred Hawkins Treasurer, Mrs. Nulma Ball Membership Secretary and Mrs. Pat Atkinson Editor.

The Branch published Warwick Kimber's book "Camellia Species in Australia." The first flowering of C. chrysantha in Victoria was on September 15th, 1987.

At the Annual General Meeting in October 1987, a Merrillees Memorial Gold Medal was awarded to Mrs. Nulma Ball. On January 1st, 1988, Mr. Ray Garling became National President of the A.C.R.S. and Mrs. Nola McLean became National Secretary. The Victorian Branch commenced to grow and propagate plants in a shade house on the property of Mr. Keith Smith at Gembrook in March 1988.

In 1988 the blooms competition became "The Len Hobbs Memorial Blooms Competition." In July 1988 there was a visit by a group of 41 members of the New Zealand Camellia Society. In August 1988, there was a visit by 3 Chinese Botanists from Kunming Botanical Institute and Shanghai Botanical Institute and Gardens. At the Annual General Meeting of the Branch in October 1988 a Merrillees Memorial Gold Medal was awarded to Mr. Ray Garnett.

In 1989, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross was President, Mrs. Sheriden Page Secretary, Mr. Fred Hawkins Treasurer, Mrs. Nulma Ball Membership Secretary and Mr. Rob Atkinson Editor.

February 1989 saw the closure of the Pasadena Nursery owned by Lindsay and Jean Allison. At the Annual General Meeting of October 1989, a Merrillees Memorial Gold Medal was awarded to Mr. Rob Atkinson. A second Society Scholarship was awarded to Mr. Geoffrey Trease to cover his 3 year course in Horticulture at Burnley Horticultural College.

In 1990, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross was President, Mrs. Sheriden Page Secretary, Mr. Paul Ludwig Treasurer, Mrs. Nulma Ball Membership Secretary, Mr. Rob Atkinson Editor. Victorian Branch hosted the A.C.R.S. National Congress and Council meeting, 30th August to 2nd September. The Branch culture book "Successful Camellia Growing" was reprinted during 1990.

In 1991, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross was President, Mrs. Sheriden Page Secretary, Mr. Rob Atkinson Treasurer, Mrs. Nulma Ball Membership Secretary and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor. In March 1991, our Patron, Mr. Alex Jessep, passed away one week before his 99th birthday.
At the National Congress and Council Meeting in Sydney in August, Mrs. Jessep was made a Patron of the Society and an E.G. Waterhouse Medal was awarded to Dr. R. Withers. At the Annual General Meeting of the Branch in October, Mr. Ern Kettle and Mrs. Dorothy Paul were awarded inaugural Honorary Life Memberships of the Victorian Branch. In 1991 Mr. Les Rosenberg became the first member to win all four A.W. Jessep medals available in shows within the one year.

In 1992, Mr. Paul Ludwig was President, Mrs. Sheriden Page Secretary, Mr. Rob Atkinson Treasurer, Mrs. Nulma Ball Membership Secretary and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor.

In February 1992 Dr. Bob Withers travelled to London to receive the Veitch Gold Medal, the highest award made by the Royal Horticultural Society to a non-resident of Britain.

At the I.C.S. banquet at the Congress in New Orleans, the President of the American Camellia Society, Mr. Greg Davis, awarded a Certificate of Commendation from the A.C.S. to Mr. Edgar Sebire of Australia, received on his behalf by Dr. Bob Withers. The award was presented to Mr. Sebire at the March meeting of the Victorian Branch.

On 30th May, a plaque was unveiled in the Gazebo in the Camellia Section of the Rhododendron Garden at Olinda, in Memory of Mr. Len Hobbs.
At the National Council Meeting in 1992, Mr. Ray Garling was awarded a Hazlewood Medal for his services to the Society.

In July a grafting day was held at Paul Ludwig's home.  A Branch outing was held with visits to Mr. John O'Neill's Nursery 'Fernglade' at Belgrave and the Camellia Garden in the Rhododendron Garden at Olinda.
Displays were put on at Bulleen Nursery, The Greenery, Holmesglen TAFE Spring Festival, The Glen Shopping Centre and "Labassa House".
At the Annual General Meeting, Mr. Russell Ball and Mrs. Nulma Ball were awarded Honorary Life Memberships of the Victorian Branch.

1993 and 1994 Mrs. Shirley Shallcross was President, Mrs. Sheridan Page Secretary, Mr. Rob Atkinson Treasurer, Mrs. Pat Atkinson Membership Secretary and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor. At the July monthly meeting Mr. Neville Haydon and Mr. Os Blumhardt from New Zealand were our guest speakers. During the year a grafting afternoon was held at Holmesglen TAFE, a Judges' Training Day was held at East Malvern R.S.L. and an outing was held to view camellias at the garden of Mr & Mrs. Cornthwaite at Mirboo North.

In March 1993 The International Camellia Register compiled by Mr. Thomas Savige became available to members. Mr. Savige was awarded a Gold Veitch Memorial Medal by the RHS in England in recognition of his work.

At the National Congress of the ACRS held in Adelaide in 1993 Mr. Ray Garnett was awarded the E.G. Waterhouse Medal.

In 1994 members were saddened by the sudden death of Mr Alan Raper of Warren Glen and Rhodo Glen Nurseries in April and Mr John Henderson, a loyal supporter of our Branch, in December.

During 1994 a grafting day was held at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm Hughes, a Judges' Training day was held at East Malvern R.S.L. and an open garden day was held to a number of members' gardens. Displays were put on at Bulleen Nursery, Poynton's Nursery Essendon, The Greenery at Heidelberg and the Holmesglen TAFE Spring Festival.

In the Branch Newsletter of August 1994, Mr. Thomas Savige was congratulated on having been conferred an Honorary Degree of Master of Science by the University of Sydney on June 10th in recognition of his academic achievement in the compilation of the International Camellia Register.

On 22nd August 1994 members were saddened by the death of Mr. Edgar Sebire. Mrs. Dorothy Jessep celebrated her 100th birthday on 26th September 1994, and was presented with a certificate by the Australia Day Council, and also with a special photograph by the Society.

In 1994 Dr. Bob Withers and Dr. John Rouse both received the Order of Australia Medal in the General Division for services to Horticulture.
At the National Congress in Hobart, Mr. Ray Garling was made a President Emeritus and Mr. John Hunt was awarded the E.G. Waterhouse Medal.

During September members were saddened by the death of Mrs. Valerie Watts co-show manager of the Waverley Show for some years.
In 1994 Mrs. Beryl Sebire was awarded an Honorary Life Membership.

1995 Mrs. Shirley Shallcross was President, Mrs Nola McLean Secretary, Mr. Rob Atkinson Treasurer, Mr. Geoff Sherrington Membership Secretary and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor. It was decided to adopt the new Judging Rules and classification of blooms in 1995 to fall in line with the National Rules. The 40th birthday of the Branch was celebrated on Wednesday 14th June, 1995.  A visit to Rhodo Glen Nursery was held in May. A grafting afternoon was held at the home of Mr. & Mrs Malcolm Hughes in July. In September visits were made to the Gardens of three members and to Camellia Lodge Nursery. Large displays were put on at Poynton's Nursery Essendon, Gardenworld at Keysborough and The Greenery Heidelberg and the International Garden Fair, at Caulfield and smaller displays and talks at The Garden Centre Mitcham and Pinewood Nursery Mount Waverley.

The first Spit Roast Dinner was held at our November meeting.

We lost two members during 1995. Mr. Ford Kitchen on 23rd June, 1995. On October 23rd 1995 our long standing, much respected member and very enthusiastic exhibitor Dr. Percy Jenkins passed away suddenly.

1996 Mr. Rob Atkinson was President, Mrs Shirley Shallcross Secretary, Mrs. Pat Atkinson Treasurer, Mr. Geoff Sherrington Membership Secretary and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor. Displays were put on at Pinewood Nursery, Beasley's Nursery, Poynton's Nursery, Gardenworld and The Greenery and the Spring Garden Festival at Caulfield.

At the National Council Meeting in 1996 New General Procedures and Rules for the Registration of New Camellia Cultivars were adopted.

At the April meeting Mrs Shirley Shallcross was presented with a John Pascoe Fawkner Gold Medal by the President of the RHSV Fellows Group for her considerable contribution over many years to our Society the Waverley Garden Club and the Judges Association.

In September 1996 Mrs. Edna Parkes active in camellia culture since the1950's and a keen hybridiser passed away.

1997 Mr. Rob Atkinson was President, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross Secretary, Mrs. Pat Atkinson Treasurer, Dr. Ann Marks Membership Secretary and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor. In 1997 the Victorian Branch once again hosted the ACRS National Congress from July 31st to August 3rd at the Rydges Riverwalk Hotel at Richmond. Displays were put on at Pinewood Nursery, Poynton's Nursery, Beasley's Nursery and The Greenery.

At the Council Meeting of the ACRS in 1997 a Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Bob Withers. At the Seminar it was announced that an Australian National Reference Collection of Camellia plants was being established at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

At the ICS Congress in New Zealand in 1997 it was reported that DNA testing had proved without doubt that C. 'Brushfield's Yellow', C. 'Jury's Yellow' and C. 'Gwenneth Morey' were distinct varieties.

Mr. N. McMinn and Mrs. E. McMinn were each awarded the Merrillees Gold Medal in 1997. At the Christmas Meeting in November 1997, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross was awarded an Honorary Life Membership of the Branch.

1998 Mr. Rob Atkinson was President, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross Secretary, Mr. Graeme Atkins Treasurer, Mrs. Pat Atkinson Membership Secretary, and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor.

On March 3rd, 1998 Mr. Lindsay Allison passed away. Having joined the Society in 1970, Lindsay was Proprietor with his wife Jean of Pasadena Nursery until its closure in 1989. Both were great supporters of the Society supplying wonderful camellia plants and helping with judging and displays at the Waverley Shows for many years. Long standing member, Mrs Edna Wilkins, passed away in June.

In the April, 1998 Newsletter is an article by Val Bieleski from New Zealand on C. Hybrid 'Sweet Jane' raised by Mr. Ray Garnett and it is reported that this camellia had been selected by the National Council of the ACRS for special release as Camellia 2000 in the year 2000. C. 'Sweet Jane' is the first camellia bred in Australia to have been patented.

New voting procedures for Champion Blooms and Roving Judges were introduced at the Waverley Show. Displays were put on at Poynton's Nursery, Beasley's Nursery, Pinewood Nursery and The Greenery.

Mrs. M. Baker was awarded the Merrillees gold Medal in 1998.

1999 Mr. Andrew Raper was President, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross Secretary, Mr. Graeme Atkins Treasurer, Mrs. Pat Atkinson Membership Secretary and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor.

During 1999 we lost three of our most longstanding and valued members. On 20th February Mr. Neville McMinn from Camellia Lodge Nursery passed away suddenly. On 8th March Mr. Ray Garling a former President of the Branch and former National President passed away. In October Mrs. Nulma Ball passed away after many years of membership and work for the Society.

During 1999 the President of the Branch, Mr. Andrew Raper visited North Vietnam on plant collecting expeditions on two occasions. The first was in late January-early February and the second in December. Both trips were very successful with many new plants being introduced.

A grafting day was held at Rhodo Glen Nursery in July. Displays were put on at Warringal Orchid Show Greensborough, Poynton's Nursery and Pinewood Nursery. Unfortunately The Greenery was cancelled.

At the Annual Council Meeting of the ACRS held in July 1999 in Richmond N.S.W. Mr. Rob Atkinson was elected National Vice-President of the Society.

For the year 2000, Mr. Andrew Raper is President, Mrs. Shirley Shallcross Secretary, Mr. Graeme Atkins Treasurer, Mr. Colin Baird Membership Secretary, and Mrs. Beth Bortolin Editor. On 27th February, the first Committee Meeting for 2000 was held at Rhodo Glen Nursery. The Committee members enjoyed a tour of the Nursery then planned an interesting program for the first year of the millennium.

In the March Newsletter of the Branch the sad death of Mr. Thomas Savige is recorded. He passed away on 18th December 1999. He had been a member of the Victorian Branch for many years prior to his move to Albury when he joined the Hume Branch. In June, Mrs Dorothy Paul, an inaugural Honorary Life Member, died.

100 ACRS spoons have been made for use as trophies in the monthly Blooms Competition. A new ACRS badge using 'Sweet Jane' in the design has been ordered and will be available for sale to members shortly after the printing of this history in June, 2000.


2001 to 2006

Compiled by Colin BAIRD

2001 Executive Office bearers were Mr A Raper President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary and Mr G Atkins Treasurer.

Mrs F Wilkins and Mrs V Hocking were awarded the John Pascoe Fawkner Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to horticulture.

Mr C Gray and Mrs N Gray were awarded the R.H.S.V.Gold Medal for services to horticulture.

It was announced that Camellia Lodge was to move from North Dandenong to the Princes Highway at Officer.

The Victorian branch of the A.C.R.S. produced their new badge based on ‘Sweet Jane’ designated as Camellia 2000.

The Royal Botanic Gardens received the ICS Garden of Excellence Award.  Most of the research, field work, and species identification needed for the award having been supplied by Dr Bob Withers.

The Branch arranged a ‘Christmas in July’ weekend in NSW. Visits were paid to Camellia Grove Nursery and to Paradise Nursery at Kulnarra the home of Mr Bob Cherry.

This year saw a new competitive show at Rivers Nursery, Yarrambat and a new display venue at the Warringal Orchid Show. Both proved very popular in this new growth area of Melbourne.

The National Congress was held in Canberra and the ACRS was finally incorporated. It was decided that a website be set up with links to all state affiliates and the ICS site.

2002 Executive Office bearers Mr B Johnson President, Mrs S. Shallcross Secretary,  Mrs G. Atkins Treasurer.

The Victorian branch was saddened by the passing of our patron Mrs D. Jessep.

We lost two long time members of our society – Dr J. Rouse a passionate horticulturist [especially with vireya rhodendrons] and Mr W Kimber publisher of ‘Camellia Species in Australia’.

The Victorian branch of the ACRS decided to change its name to ‘Camellias Victoria Inc’ with the aim of making it more relevant and easier to find on the internet.

Our branch was actively involved in displays at Poynton’s Nursery, Pinewood Nursery, The Greenery, East Malvern, Cheltenham, and Yarrrambat.

The National Congress was held in Perth.  Mr Ray Garnett became a Fellow of the ACRS and Mr R Atkinson was appointed National President.

Camellias Victoria had another very successful bus trip this time to Gippsland to visit the new Camellia Lodge and then on to Neerim East and Warragul to visit two gardens.

We were delighted when Mrs Erica McMinn agreed to become our Patron.

2003 Executive Office Bearers Mr B Johnson President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer.

MrC Hocking passed away. He had two passions inn life; Collingwood F.C. and camellias and two dislikes – umpires and flower judges! 

Over the summer break a plant of C ‘Federation’ was made to Government House.

Mr I Henham a long standing member and head gardener for the City of Bairnsdale passed away.

Dr Bob Withers successfully lobbied Australia Post so a camellia was included in the stamp series of five Australian flower cultivars. One included his creation H. Hari Withers

A judging seminar was held at East Malvern for all interested members of Camellias Victoria and and the Australian Horticultural Judges Association .

The third edition of ‘Successful Camellia Growing’ was released for sale.

We were pleased to announce the formation of Camellias Gippsland an affiliate of Camellias Victoria on 19.06.03.

This year our bus trip was to Geelong.  We visited the Geelong Botanic Gardens, a nursery and the Winchelsea Garden Club Spring Show.

We were saddened to note the passing of Mrs V Hocking.

We held a competitive show at Burdetts at Langwarrin.

The National Congress was held in Hobart,Tasmania and was attended by a large Victorian contingent.

2004 Executive Office bearers Mr B Johnson President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer.

Mrs B Sebire, wife of Edgar and honorary member passed away.

Camellias Victoria organized a trip to the home of Mr N Prentice to help repot his camellias.

It was decided by committee to have an award for the best Australian cultivar at our monthly meeting.

Mr R Straughan, secretary for nearly ten years died.

The National Congress was held in Wollongong.

Our annual bus trip was to the Yarra Valley, Hoddles Creek and East Warburton were we visited a garden with many mature camellias originated in Sydney.

The Waverley Show featured a new section for Australian raised cultivars. This was to highlight the many varieties created here and to prepare for 2006 when the ICS Congress and National Show are to be held in Victoria.

We had a display at Warrenglen Nursery and also participated in the ABC Gardening Show at Caulfield where we were kept very busy for three days answering questions.

Mr N Prentice passed away.  A very sad loss of an enthusiastic camellia lover.  Norm would graft anything and had a wonderful collection.

Mr B Johnson was awarded the Merrillees Gold Medal for outstanding service to camellias in Victoria.

2005    Executive Office bearers Mr K Smith President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer.

Vale Dr B Withers.O.A.M.. Dr Bob, as he was affectionately known , loved all things camellia including plants, books, stamps, pictures and photographs.  He was a hybridist of note, registering some beautiful blooms including ‘Lady Pamela’, ‘Hari Withers’,’ Elsie Ross’, and’Susie O’Neal’. He was the holder of the Camellia Species Collection with the OPCCA and the recipient of many awards and honours.

This year marked our 50th Birthday and to commemorate we issued special glasses with our logo.

A grafting day was held at Rhodoglen Nursery giving members a chance to obtain rare varieties.

The National Congress was held in Toowoomba with a very good Victorian presence.  Mr R Garnett was recognized with the Walter Hazelwood Award.

Displays were held at Warrenglen and the Greenery nurseries.
 
Our bus trip was to the Ballarat area.  We visited two homesteads Yulong and Lala, the Gunang Keban Nursery and the Formosa Nursery in Ballarat

2006 Executive Office bearers Mr K Smith President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer.

Camellias Victoria moved their meeting place to the East Burwood Uniting Church Hall.  A better lit venue with ample parking and easy access.

Camellias Geelong and District is inaugurated with a few members and the hope that they will grow.

We were sad to report the death of Mr C Gray, president of RHSV and Waverley garden Club, Show manager at East Malvern R.S.L. and Camellias Victoria member.

The National Congress was held in Melbourne including the National Show, and visits to Rhodoglen Nursery, Ferny Creek Horticultural Society and the Burnley Gardens.

The ICS Congress was held in Melbourne with functions enabling Australian members to catch up with old friends from overseas.

Our bus trip was to Korrumburra and Leongatha and hosted by Camellias Gippsland.

We again attended the ABC Gardening Show and spent a very busy but fulfilling three days answering questions and guiding people on the right track with camellias.

2007 Executive Office bearers Mr K Smith President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer

2008 Executive Office bearers Mr Andrew Raper President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer

2009 Executive Office bearers Mr Andrew Raper President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer

2010 Executive Office bearers Mr Andrew Raper President, Mrs S Shallcross Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer

2011 Executive Office bearers Mrs S Shallcross President, Mrs J Saltmarsh Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer

2012 Executive Office bearers, Mrs S Shallcross President, Mrs J Saltmarsh Secretary, Mr G Atkins Treasurer