Australian Garden History Society
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Vic Branch: 40th Anniversary Garden party

14 March 2020 @ 3:00 pm AEDT

On Saturday the 14th March, the Victorian Branch gathered together at Umina, the CWA property in Toorak, for our 40th -anniversary celebrations. Despite the current climate of ‘social distancing’, about 70 of our members came to share in the afternoon of reminiscences and the delightful afternoon tea provided by the CWA ladies. It was very pleasing to have several of the founding members in attendance and we welcomed special guests John Dwyer, former NMC Chair and our Patron, Professor Tim Entwisle.

The formal part of the afternoon took place on the terrace lawn with the guests seated under the shade of a grand old oak tree and the speakers positioned in front of the wisteria pergola – which may or may not be an Edna Walling design (you can read more about Umina in Tim Gatehouse’s article published in the October 2019 edition of our journal). Firstly, John Dwyer spoke about the many significant people who have given their time and expertise to the Society and their achievements. The arrival of two fire engines during John’s speech added a little background drama, but we were quickly reassured that it was nothing more than a faulty smoke alarm on the property and John was not upstaged by the distraction.

John was followed by our Patron, Professor Tim Entwisle, who spoke about what we might expect when looking to the next 40 years. In particular, Tim suggested we consider which species we use to replace ageing specimens in our significant gardens in view of the changing climate. He gave us as an example the choice of tree the RBG Melbourne is considering to replace the recently deceased White Oak. Instead of replacing this tree with the same species, a more drought tolerant species from California, the Valley Oak Quercus lobata, is the likely candidate. Tim left us with this thought:

“Valuing and caring for remarkable garden landscapes will always be important. It should be a matter of pride and obligation for the entire community, not just members of our society. So, we must continue to not only lead, but to influence and coax as best we can.”

After the speeches, the attending past Victorian Branch Chairs were invited to participate in the cutting of the anniversary cake and we all raised our glasses to toast the success of the society so far. A special mention goes to Mary Grant, from the CWA, who created and decorated the cake for this occasion.

To finish the formalities, Tim and John planted a commemorative tree, Pistacia chinensis on the front driveway. The tree was selected by Fran and Mal Faul for its hardiness and good autumn colour.

The remainder of this agreeable autumnal afternoon was spent chatting and nibbling in the very pleasant surrounds of Umina’s gardens, which were looking their best thanks to the efforts of a dedicated team of AGHS volunteers led by Fran Faul.

Many thanks are due to all the people who worked hard to make sure that the afternoon ran smoothly. Sadly, Robyn Robins our current chair of the Branch, who had worked hard planning the event was unable to attend due to ill health but Wendy Dwyer stepped up admirably as MC. With the catering expertise of Annie Woodside and assistance of other committee members, we all had a memorable afternoon.

Happy 40th Anniversary AGHS!


14 March 2020
3:00 pm AEDT
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