AIH 2018 Annual Awards

Every year, the Institute celebrates excellence in horticulture with diverse projects, experiences and people acknowledged and recognised for their achievements. In a year that has delivered major disruption across the world, it is timely that the Australian Institute of Horticulture celebrates these superb people and their projects.

October 27, 2018

Acknowledgment of Country

We acknowledge and pay respects to the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast and all their descendants both past and present. We also acknowledge the many Aboriginal people from other regions as well as Torres Strait and South Sea Islander people who now live in the local area and have made an important contribution to the community.


Golden Wattle Award

Annette McFarlane

Presented by Michael Casey and sponsors Annette Irish and Wayne Van Balen.

The Golden Wattle Award goes to Annette McFarlane. The award was accepted on her behalf by Kim Woods Rabbidge, President Horticulture Media Association Qld.

Annette is a broadcaster on ABC Brisbane with a large and enthusiastic audience tuning in to her gardening talk back program each weekend. She is a regular Garden Columnist for the Sunday Mail newspaper that is distributed throughout Queensland.

Annette is a prolific author with several books promoting the practice of organic gardening. Titles include:

‘Successful Gardening in Warm Climates’,
Organic Vegetable Gardening,
Organic Fruit Growing; and
Gardening Australia’s ‘Love Your Garden’.

A former horticulture teacher, Annette now conducts a busy program of free garden workshops in conjunction with Brisbane City Council and other local authorities and to groups and organisations throughout Queensland. These are well supported and often oversubscribed. Annette has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the promotion of horticulture in its many forms. Her encouragement brings joy, education, understanding and participation to many people who may not otherwise take an interest in gardening.

Annette’s contribution to our profession of horticulture, meets the high standards of the AIH Golden Wattle Award.

Thanks Annette Irish FAIH RH and Wayne Van Balen MAIH RH for their support of this award. Sponsors A.I.M.S. Pty Ltd / Van Balen Horticultural.

Presented by Neville Passmore FAIH RH

Silver Gum Award

Sponsored By Cameron Tree from Horticultural Training

Major General, The Honourable Michael Jeffery


General Jeffery has served the Australian nation at its highest level as its 24th Governor General, as a decorated soldier of great courage from his beginnings as a native Western Australian.

From the Australian Institute of Horticulture point of view General Jeffery has served the nation with the same distinction and courage as Australia’s First Advocate for Soil Health. As horticulture practitioners, we are all aware of the fragility of our ancient soils. The initiative of the Gillard government (and subsequent governments), to identify that our soils are as important as any infrastructure is immensely commendable.

Also commendable was the appointment of General Jeffery as Soil Advocate, to provide strong leadership and advocacy on the importance and need for healthy Australian soils, water and vegetation as essential to every Australian. In fact, the three sciences that underpin the existence of the Australian Institute of Horticulture.

General Jeffery has communicated the soil message to students, land managers and communities across the nation. He has done this with an understanding of the technical aspects of soil management in consultation with farmers and soil scientists.

We wish General Jeffery well in this quest to conserve and advocate for our soil health in the knowledge that AIH is with you all the way. Our thanks and congratulations.

Thanks Cameron Tree of Horticultural Training for their support of this award.

Horticulturist of the Year

Sponsored by Fitzpatrick Insurance

Jan Allen


Presented by Daniel Holmes from Fitzpatricks & Co. Insurance Brokers

Jan has long been a member of AIH and has worked in the profession in the public and private sectors for almost 30 years.

The base of her success as a well-known arborist is her love of gardening from an early age. Since achieving qualifications as an arborist she has become a well-known and respected practitioner of her craft. Jan is the Director of Terra ARK Arborist Services and Consulting Arborists and operates from the Gold Coast and is often sought after for her opinions and reports on urban tree and vegetation management around Australia. Jan established the Veteran Tree Group Australia, a volunteer group that gathers and assembles records, and works on the preservation of ancient, significant and veteran trees around Australia. Jan has spent many hours over many years of meetings and deliberations on the establishment of Tree Standards for the Australian Institute of Horticulture and the wider horticulture industry that also includes the initiation of young tree stock specifications with the result of improvement in the quality and performance of trees we grow. Jan has represented the AIH’s interest at these gatherings over many years. Often at her own expense she has been committed to the improvement of horticulture and to ensure that AIH has an important voice in the fair and reasonable results adopted by Standards Australia.


Stuart Pittendrigh


The members thank you and believe it is high time you joined our group of Fellows.
Horticulturist Holder of the Australian Horticulturist of the Year award for his involvement with Barangaroo Landscape architect Consulting arborist Counsel to government Mentor to our mentors Little involvement on our admin committees but invaluable support to our workshops over recent years


Neville Passmore


Wayne Van Balen MAIH RH and Chris Poulton FAIH RH (the most recently appointed Fellow) presented two Fellowships of the AIH.

The Members wish to acknowledge your ongoing contribution and honour you with a Fellowship.
Valuable National Councillor Silver Gum Award holder Proud Western Australian Gentleman and great guy Media personality and writer Brilliant support to the iconic Delia and her vast Aquaponics empire.

Student of the Year

Sponsored by AIH National Council

Sonny Morrison

Presented by David Thompson on behalf of The AIH National Council and Sponsor Western Sydney University Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

The Australian Institute of Horticulture Student of the Year for 2018 is Sonny Morrisson, nominated by Tom Lantry and Sponsored by Western Sydney University.

Sonny is 28 years old and currently completing his Cert 3 in Horticulture at Kurri Kurri Campus in NSW. He has established his own business focusing on residential lawns and gardens. The course has improved his knowledge and skills which he has been able to apply to every aspect of his business. He has particularly enjoyed learning all about the different plants and their cultures. Sonny is also extremely passionate about the environment. Sonny is an active member of the Australian Institute of Horticulture and attends regular meetings in the Hunter. He was recently involved with contributing to the development of a new brochure (and banner) for the general public. These have been produced and are now available.

BBM Youth Support Horticulture Scholarship

Sponsored by BBM Youth Support

Katanah Jas

Katanah Jas is one of the winners of the 2018 BBM Youth Support Award for Horticulture and is off to Europe thanks to sponsorship from Mayfield Garden in conjunction with the Australian Garden Council. Katanah was recommended by AIH member John Mason FAIH.

The BBM judging panel recognised Katanah as an extraordinary professional who demonstrates not only excellence in her skills but also ambition and industry leadership well beyond what one would expect for a person her age. She has proven a keen interest in industry trends and outstanding networking skills that that will help her to connect with some of the top horticulturalists and influencers over in the UK. “One of my biggest aspirations is to change the way people look at Horticulture and help them explore a new understanding of its importance in our everyday lives and for many, many years to come. This award will help me deepen my understanding of plant culture, sustainable landscaping and design and subsequently allow me to promote the importance of matters such as biologically active, self-renewing topsoil, the value of soil microbes and the carbon cycle which can decrease the impact of the greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change” says Katanah.

Rural Green Space Award

Noosa Shire Council - Noosa Heads Boardwalk Upgrade

Nominated and Presented by Alan Burnell
The walkway from Hastings St in Noosa out to the Noosa National Park showcases an iconic part of the Australian coastline. It passes through remnant native bushland located upon the hills and cliffs overlooking Laguna Bay. It provides tourists and locals with an accessible experience of the impressive coastline.
In addition, it remains an important habitat area for native Flora and Fauna including the Koala which can be sometimes seen in the large Forest Red Gums located along the pathway. AIH members Alan Burnell and David Hawthorne joined with Hutchinson Builders to undertake the Noosa Boardwalk Upgrade works at Park Road, Noosa Heads for the Noosa Council. The project included the removal of the old boardwalk from Little Cove to the Noosa National Park carpark entrance and construction of a new boardwalk with lighting and Wi-Fi upgrade. Existing native vegetation has been retained and incorporated into the design of the new boardwalk, including Koala food and habitat trees. A full Environmental Management plan has been implemented to maintain an environmentally-friendly and safe ecosystem.

Urban Green Space Award

Optus Stadium Chevron Parkland, Burswood, WA

Jaiden Culpin and Julian Rose from Deep Green Corporation accepted the award.

The creation of the Optus Stadium Perth was a controversial project at the outset. It is now a source of great pride to West Australians and is particularly so in 2018 since the Optus Stadium home team, the West Coast Eagles took out the AFL premiership. Creating a park for the people beside this icon, presented a unique canvas from which to show off something of Perth’s green history.
The landscape architect firm Hassell, planned a concept that drew on the aboriginal heritage of the region, through extensive workshops with elders of the local aboriginal Whadjuk people. The final plan drew inspiration from the 6 seasons of the Whadjuk people. These seasons mark much more than just changes in the weather. Seasonally available foods including animals, fruits, tubers and other resources were at the heart of the movement around the tribal lands. Songlines, literally songs that were sung as the people moved along the many trails across the land, acted as a reminder of what to look out for as far as food goes as well as an ancient form of Google Maps. By planning a nature playground the project immediately engages children. The excellent signage brings the stories about the 6 seasons – to life. The plants placed in each of the six landscapes within the garden tie in to those seasons as do the representations of the animals. Local Whadjuk artists have created art pieces many of which feature the animals applying to the seasons. Landscape contractor Deep Green Corporation won the contract and had two years to order the plant stock. Apart from some large-scale transplants all of the other plant material was grown to order. Aboriginal contractors were engaged to install the plants and structures on site. The project has won industry awards but perhaps more significantly, it has won the hearts of the kids of Perth. It creates a fun, learning environment where the culture of the local Whadjuk people is explained through stories, art and the landscape itself. On another level, the design highlights the reclamation of the riparian landscape on the doorstep of Perth.

Urban Green Space Award

Junglefy Australia’s Largest Breathing Wall

Presented and accepted by Michael Casey MAIH RH

Jock Gammon, Managing Director of Junglefy, is unable to attend and Michael Casey as nominator accepted the award on his behalf.

Following the success of the first Breathing Wall installed at Lendlease’s Sydney head office, Junglefy were tasked to create an even bigger Breathing Wall for Lendlease in Melbourne. At 88sqm, it is currently Australia’s largest Breathing Wall and provides clean air and a beautiful backdrop for this foyer and collaborative work space.

Junglefy developed the planting design and grew the plant stock six months prior to commencing construction. Once matured, the plants were transported in their modules to Melbourne where they constructed the 88sqm Breathing Wall frame and attached the planted modules. This Breathing Wall is the largest of its kind in Australia and the immense scale of this Breathing Wall is a feat in itself. The Scale of this project paves the way for even larger breathing walls in the future. Deputy Lord Mayor from the City of Melbourne, Arron Wood said, “The refurbishment at 485 La Trobe St demonstrates Lendlease’s ability to reposition an asset with sustainability as the first principle, guiding positive changes to improve working conditions, health, and wellbeing for the occupants here.”

Award of Excellence

MJC Horticulture

Presented by Jackie Warburton MAIH

The benefits of Green Walls which are being installed inside buildings, homes and even classrooms in urban environments have been well documented in recent years. There is significant proof that Green Walls can also have a positive impact on children’s mental health, especially those within secondary schools.

These include:

Assisting children with ADHD to focus better in school

Boosting teacher and student morale to support healthy student/teacher relationships

Improvement of cognitive functioning

MJC Horticulture has partnered with Catholic Regional College over the past 5 years incorporating green spaces in and around the campus. The recent design and development of a new Study Hall features a green wall which is the building that year 11 and 12 students sit their exams in. This was a deliberate design feature to ensure the students’ physical testing environment was optimised for the best outcomes. The wall is 50m2 in size, incorporates 1200 plants covering 12 different species.

Award of Excellence

Ben French

Presented by Matt Mitchley MAIH RH

A recipient of an Award of Excellence has been a Member of the Institute for a continuous period of not less than four years; and has demonstrated consistent achievement in a horticultural field.

Ben French was nominated by Matt Mitchley and recognised for the Bulimba Garden. Ben has been a long term AIH member.

Yards Landscaping were originally engaged by the owners of this property to create a functional tiny waterfront area and a plant lovers paradise. It involved minimal structure allowing the plants to soften the edges. With such a beautifully designed home and pool, it was a pleasure to work on. Being careful not to block any views and at the same time provide some privacy, the layout takes a considered approach.

The owner is a plant enthusiast, so they had to have diversity in plant material while connecting with the clean lines of the Architectural home. So keen to get started they had already purchased a large Dracaena draco. Pleached Olives frame the access to the waterfront. Many interesting and unique Bromeliads were sourced from specialty growers. Soft weeping ground covers and salt tolerant turf were also selected for their hardiness along the Brisbane River. The planting extends onto the jetty, with custom made planters complimenting the pylons.

Award of Merit

Dr Kate Neale

Presented by Andrew Prowse MAIH RH and Matt Carroll MAIH RH

Dr Kate Neale was nominated by Patrick Regnault MAIH RH for her contribution to “Inclusive therapeutic horticulture programs”.

Dr Kate Neale PhD is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University. She is an avid gardener who has combined her passion for gardening along with her expertise in Childhood Studies, research methodologies and ethics.

This has involved developing therapeutic gardening programs for people with intellectual

Kate’s work is supported through an industry partnership with Vegepod and Commonwealth Grant funding.

Award of Merit

Phillip Vaughan

Phillip Vaughan of Vaughan’s Native Plants Teesdale, Victoria has helped make precious Australian native plants available for home gardens. Phil Vaughan has made the best of the Western Australian Wildflowers available as grafted plants to home gardeners. Previously, the best of WA’s spectacularly colourful wildflowers simply could never be grown over in the Eastern states due to fungal diseases etc.

Plants such as blue leschenaultias, orange flowering Copper Tops, smoke bushes, WA Christmas trees, Desert Grevilleas and many, many more are now available, and most are grafted onto hardy understocks, making them much easier to grow.

Doubtless many young propagators and plant collectors will follow in Phil’s footsteps. Phil is arguably our greatest ever pioneer of making fabled WA wildflowers and spectacular wildflowers in general available and manageable for garden use.

Phil has brought excitement, fun and Aussie pride back to gardening.

Award of Merit

Sid Dyer

Presented by Andrew Prowse MAIH RH

An Award of Merit is granted for a specific horticultural project or activity. The recipient need not necessarily be a Member of the Institute.

The Institute recognised Sid Dyer for his services to Horticulture, development of the irrigation industry and the Nerang Community Garden Project.

Sid’s initial entry into the general irrigation industry in Australia was fostered by attending his first major irrigation symposium at Hawkesbury Agricultural College in 1962. In 1976 Sid started the organising process of forming the initial Irrigation Association of Australia (IAA) working with a few loyal supporters including some help from ICID Australia and the IA/USA.

Sid’s career in the irrigation industry in Australia has included working as Australasian General Manager for US company Lindsay International Irrigation where he was very much involved in the introduction of the Centre Pivot Irrigators into Australia during the 1975 / 1984 period. During the last four years Sid has spent considerable time working with Paradise Community Gardens at their Nerang site where he has helped to set up an Aquaponics Study Centre where Sid and his helpers spend considerable time teaching and encouraging Site gardeners to become efficient with their water use.

Certificates of Appreciation

Wayne Van Balen + Kim Morris

Recognising The Leadership of President and Secretary.

Wayne Van Balen has led the Institute as President since 2015 and has dedicated enormous time, energy and commitment to a large number of strategic initiatives that have strengthened the place of the AIH in the national and international region.

Kim Morris has played an immensely important role as Secretary with endless energy, tireless enthusiasm and a deep commitment to excellence from 2016 to 2018. Kim continues as Acting Secretary.

AIH Fellow

Glenice Batchelor


Glenice Batchelor FAIH RH

The Members wish to acknowledge your ongoing contribution and honour you with a Fellowship.

Glenice is a Loyal member and Registered Horticulturist whose enthusiasm over many years has assisted in developing a true National profile for the Australian Institute of Horticulture.

Her involvement has been at a regional level centred around Perth and at a National Level by serving on the National Council.

She has actively encouraged AIH to support the Green Space Alliance in Western Australia which has been a great success and example to other states.

Award of Appreciation

Paul Plant


Chair of Fellows Group

Award of Appreciation

Neville Passmore


Neville Passmore FAIH RH, Jackie Warburton MAIH

Convenor of the 2019 AIH Conference

Lifetime Achievement Award

Marion Blackwell

Presented prior to the conference by Neville Passmore FAIH RH.

Marion Blackwell is a National Treasure and was awarded an Order of Australia in 2018. She is recognised for her work as an environmental Scientist, landscape architect and conservationist. Given the theme of our conference she is a very fitting recipient of this award. Her publications and reports cover a wide field of W.A. interests, especially local gardening and landscape projects as well as for major mining companies such as NBHP and Woodside Offshore Petroleum.