WANOSCG History and Values


The first meeting of the WA Orchid Study Group was held on 29 March 1974, with the group becoming incorporated in 1976 as “The W.A. Native Orchid Study and Conservation Group (inc.)”.



John Ewing, WANOSCG President 2011 – 2012,  Jay Steer, WANOSCG President 2014 – 2016

Over the last 40 years WANOSCG, and orchid enthusiasts, have benefited greatly from the efforts of many dedicated orchid researchers, including Alex George, Kinsley Dixon, Andrew Brown and our current patron Stephen Hopper. These scientists have led field trips, acted as consultants, presented talks and been office bearers for WANOSCG. Conversely, the ‘amateurs’ of WANOSCG have contributed to science with people such as Ron Heberle, Greg Bussell, Chris French, Gary Brockman, Judy Williams and the late Don Voight being among many who have discovered and helped to describe new species (sometimes more than one). This excellent partnership is, in a large part, responsible for the success of WANOSCG over the last 40 years. Recently the partnership has taken a new lease of life with the instigation of the ‘Adopt an Orchid’ program.



WANOSCG – Early Years 

Alison Harrington, a member since 1976 and past WANOSCG president shares her memories of WANOSCG early years. President 1980 – 1983

WANOSCG was formed by the energy and enthusiasm of Herb Foote and his orchid loving friends. It was not uncommon in Herb’s day to have over 100 members. He remained president until Lal Shepherd took over in 1979. 

From a group of enthusiasts who loved orchids, the 1980’s saw the group become and important nurturer of study and knowledge of WA native orchids. The combination of the availability of many crazy enthusiastic people to chase around WA finding orchids and the ready sharing knowledge gave the professionals, both from WA and overseas, a wonderful resource to make their work rich with data.


Life Members

Patron Professor Stephen Hopper


Andrew Brown

In 1974 Andrew attended the first meeting of what was later to become WANOSCG and he and other dedicated native orchid enthusiasts began developing the framework of the new orchid group.

Caladenia brownii is named in honour of Andrew Brown.

In recognition of his years of service, Andrew was made a Life Member of WANOSCG in 1990

In whatever form, WANOSCG will look forward to further participation by this much valued foundation member.


Bill Burton

Bill joined WANOSCG in November 1986. He served on the committee in 1991 – 1995, handled clothing orders, arranged and manned flower displays and contributed to WANOSCG bulletin on many occasions.

Bill has been WANOSCG longest-serving Librarian, serving in this position from 1996 – 2011. As part of his duties he did not just look after the books but also explained library operation and rules to members and devised a new library index with the help of Noel Clarke.

Bill has always had a good eye for unusual and on one of his trips in the company of Bill Jackson he found the orchid that was eventually named Burton’s Rufous Greenhood in 1990.


Noel Clarke

Noel and Nancy joined WANOSCG in 1978 and so began Noel’s long association with the Club. It would be fair to say that no other member put as much effort ito the club as Noel did. In 1981, Noel was elected Vice President and in 1983 President of WANOSCG. He served on the committee for twenty-four years, sometimes in several roles (Tom Blinco once counted that Noel filled 28 committee positions in that time). Noel was also Bulletin editor from 1997 to 2003 and then again in 2006 when an urgent replacement  was required due to the resignation of the previous editor.

Noel was made Honorary Life Member for services rendered to the group in 1997


Herb Foote (1910 – 1987)

Herb joined the Orchid Society of Western Australia (Inc) (OSWA) in 1958 and was an active member serving as secretary from 1959 to 1960, then as a committee member in 1962. He was elected Vice-President in 1965 and served as President from 1967 to 1969. In 1969, he led the OSWA at the World Orchid Conference in Sydney to a Gold Medallion won for the best interstate Society Display.

Caladenia footeana was named in honor of Herb Foote by Stephen Hopper and Andrew Brown in 2001

Herb was made the first Honorary Life Member of WANOSCG in 1978.


Dr Alex George AM

Alex is a foundation member of WANOSCG. He was an active participant in group activities and many a newsletter from those early days mention informal and formal talks given by Alex on a variety of topics from simple descriptions of individual orchid genera to strategic talks outlining group involvement in conservation activities to very scientific presentations like “The meaning of typical in reference to plant species”

Alex was made Honorary Life Member in December 1980, just before he went to Canberra to work for Flora of Australia.


Edward Roy Hargreaves OAM (1911- 2003)

Roy joined WANOSCG in 1974 and was a co-founder (with Les Nesbitt) of the Native Orchid Society of South Australia (NOSSA).

Awarded Honorary Life Membership of WANOSCG in 2001


Ron Heberle (1913 – 2004)

Ron joined WANOSCG in 1975 after reading a notice put in the newspaper by Herb Foote inviting people to join a recently formed group. They subsequently became good friends.

Three orchids are named after the Heberle’s: Caladenia heberleana and Diuris heberlei after Ron and Prasophyllum paulineae after his wife Pauline.

Ron was awarded Life Membership of WANOSCG in 1990.


Gloria Jackson

WANOSCG had organised a field trip to Northcliffe in December 1986. The daughter of some friends of the Jacksons wanted to go and meet the group, as she had done a project at school using information from the group. Bill and Gloria Jackson volunteered to take her over to Northcliffe. They met Andrew Brown, Stephen Van Leeuwen, David Parker, Beryl Yates, Noel Clarke, Bill Burton, Sarah Atkinson and other members on this trip. They decided to join WANOSCG straight away.

Thelymitra jacksonii is named in honor of Bill Jackson.


Harry Lodge (1915 – 2004)

A foundation member of WANOSCG and the field trip leader for the very first field trip undertaken by the group. It was to Madora Bay in June 1974. According to Alison Harrington’s memories, Harry instilled many of the ethics into field trip instructions.

In recognition of his great contribution to orchid knowledge, Steve Hooper and Andrew Brown named Caladenia lodgeana in Harry’s honour in 2001

Awarded Life Membership in 1990


Jean Long

Jean was elected onto the committee where she served from 1974 – 1980 and again from 1993 – 1995, a total of ten years. She also served as Vice President from 1975 to 1980. Jean was a tireless WANOSCG member.

Awarded Life Membership in 1990.


Donald Robert Voight (1936 – 2011)

Joined WANOSCG soon after it’s formation. He was an active member contributing to articles to the bulletin, slides to the library and providing assistance to WANOSCG members visiting the Esperance region by sharing his knowledge of local orchids.

In 1977, Don showed a visiting WANOSCG member a patch of orchids that he could not identify. A sample was identified by Alex George as the long-lost crested spider orchid (Caladenia cristata), which had not been seen since it’s description in 1923. The orchid was later found to be a related but un-described species that, in 2001 was formally named Caladenia voigtii in Don’s honour.

In honour of Don’s enormous contribution to the knowledge of Western Australian orchids he was made Honorary Life Member of WANOSCG in 1990.


Ross Wilson (1928 – 2009)

Ross and Margaret joined WANOSCG in November 1994 although Ross had been in touch with the group prior to that – inviting WANOSCG members to visit newly formed ANOS (WA). Ross served as Auditor from 1995 to 2006. HE brought many new ideas to WANOSCG (eg. ideas about club insurance) and he always shared information about the ANOS Conferences and other shows.

ANOS and WANOSCG members who knew Ross remember him as a happy, cheerful person and a delight to be with.


Beryl Yates (1929 – 2010)

Beryl joined WANOSCG in November 1984 and proved to be a very active group member. In 1987, she was elected Vice-President, a position she held for two years. Beryl was a committee member again in 1992. She also served on the sub-committee formed to monitor endangered habitats. Beryl contributed to the bulletin with field trip reports, shared tips on orchid growing and was a trip leader.

Awarded Life Membership of WANOSCG in 1990.


Professor Stephen Hopper AC

In 1977 Stephen became Western Australia’s first flora conservation research scientist, employed by the then Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. He became a member of the newly formed native orchid group (WANOSCG) in 1978. In the early 1980’s he met Andrew Brown and they rapidly joined forces in many field trips. He served on the Committee of WANOSCG as Secretary (1982-83) and as Registrar (1984-86). He has been a frequent contributor to the bulletin and presented many talks. Steve has been the Patron of WANOSCG since 1994.

Steve’s approach to study and conservation was to keep detailed field notes, including collections of specimens. By the end of 2013, Steve’s collection has amassed to 120 books, each of about 100 pages and every second page having 20 plus specimens of a wide range of plants. The specimens are sticky taped, often with disections and accompanying notes.


Reference: WANOSCG 2014 Celebrating 40 Years




To promote interest in and preserve Western Australian indigenous orchids.

To learn the best means of cultivation and do all things possible for the conservation of native orchids in their environment.

To learn their habitats and keep records.

To have field days and learn to recognise the different genera and species.

To hold meetings for the exchange of knowledge and furthering of interest in Western Australian orchids.

To affiliate with kindred organisations.

To make rules of the Group’s domestic affairs.

To have fun.



2011 : Don Ward (the inaugural recipient)
2012 : Matz Dahlkamp
2013 : Eddy Wajon
2014 : Ross and Margaret Fox
2015 : Donna Wajon
2016 : Andrew Brown

The criterion for this award is that the person should have advanced the aims of, and made an outstanding contribution to, WANOSCG – namely the study and conservation of Western Australian native orchids. These contributions will usually have been made over an extended period of time. The recipient must be a financial Member of WANOSCG


RECENT PUBLICATIONS related to Western Australian Native Orchids


Identification and Ecology of Southwest Australian Orchids – A User-friendly Guide
Mark Brundrett (2014)

Field Guide to the Orchids of Western Australia
The Definitive Guide to the Native Orchids of Western Australia
Andrew Brown, Kingsley Dixon, Christopher French and Garry Brockman (2013)

Orchids of South-West Australia 3rd Edition
Noel Hoffman & Andrew Brown (2011)

Orchids of Western Australia
A valuable comprehensive reference of WA native orchid species beautifully illustrated by Pat Dundas
Andrew Brown, Pat Dundas, Kingsley Dixon & Stephen Hopper (2008)

Spider Orchids-the Genus Caladenia and it’s relatives in Australia
Gary Backhouse