THE HISTORY OF FLORAL ART IN NSW

Throughout the years since its inception in 1973, Floral Art in NSW has moved to meet the needs of exhibition, competition and education for its members across the State.

Many of those who came to that first meeting at Ann Barwick’s home at Willow Tree have maintained their interest and commitment to the organisation and the inevitable changes through the years.

At the Willow Tree meeting, convenor, Kay McCallum, president of Garden Clubs of Australia explained her concerns about the shortage of judges for flower shows, church fetes and PA & AH shows in the country. Included in the attendance on the inaugural day were Eva Gollan, Hilda Upperton, June Swain, Olive Sparke, Beth Doyle, Maureen Ritchie and Ann Barwick. Hilda Upperton was elected president and Ann Barwick took the job of secretary/treasurer. This mother and daughter combination has given a life long dedication to the organisation.

Life Members at the 40th Anniversary 2013
Life Members at the 40th Anniversary in Tamworth June 2013. From left to right Mary Sweeney OAM, Doreen Winkley, Margaret Higgins, Ann Barwick.

The new group was known as the NSW Judges School which held its first floral art demonstration in Quirindi on June 1, 1973. The first school for judges came in May 1974 at the Education Centre, Tamworth and tutors were provided by the Garden Club of Australia. Forty-five students from Walcha, Armidale, Werris Creek, Narrabri, Quirindi, Gunnedah, Tamworth, Loomberah, Manilla and Barraba enrolled. A second school was held in 1974 followed by two in 1975, a written exam at the last school completed the course.

All students passed and were presented with their Judge’s badge at Quirindi’s Garden Club’s 1975 Christmas Party by Garden Club of Australia committeeman, Mr Duedon.

By 1977, at the organisation annual meeting with the executive of Hilda Upperton, Ann Barwick and June Ingall the name was changed to NSW Judges School of Floral Art and became independent of the Garden Club of Australia while remaining affiliated with them.

The aim of the first two day school, now autonomous body, at Tamworth was to train judges, stewards and exhibitors. Tamworth’s Mayoress McKellar opened the school, where teacher, Val Sinclair of Mount Waverly Victoria, demonstrated traditional work including a pedestal, following next day with modern work.

1978… NSW became a foundation member of the Australia Association of Judges Schools when Hilda Upperton and Ann Barwick attended the inaugural meeting in Melbourne.

1979 July… The proposed constitution was accepted. Schools continued each year.

1980… With Olga Lisle and J McLeod taking on the reins, a school at Walcha enjoyed demonstrations with Brian Payne, a Double Bay florist and RAS exhibitor. This began a lasting friendship in floral art between the organisation and Mr Payne.

1983… Victoria’s Judges School through Iris Cottrell gave permission for material in their handbook to be used in NSW until our own could be written. The Handbook of the NSW Judges School for Floral Art was published in 1984.

In 1983 it was agreed that the meetings of the NSW Judges School would be held in Tamworth as it was central to participating clubs. Any club wishing to hold a school must apply to the governing body to hold two schools and judges exams. Schools could be held for judging cut flowers or decorative work. Schools were to be no more that eighteen months apart. A resolution was passed that all students must be financial and remain financial as judges. Parkes was the first group to hold two schools and an exam. Brian Payne was their first demonstrator. The first championships were held in this year also at the Gunnedah Services Club with Connie Caldwell of Brisbane, Olga Isle and Thelma Gardiner demonstrating.

1986… NSW took over for their turn as the executive of the Australian Association of Judges School. This three-year term is passed to each state to administer. During this year Lois Barnet of Melbourne gave a demonstration of Ancient and Modern church arrangements including pedestals. Marion Snape and Margaret Dodd were now the executive.

1990… Hilda Upperton judged at the World Flower Show in Paris.

1991… The newsletter had been produced by Patricia Smith of Gunnedah; the organisation agreed on a major expenditure for a photocopier to print the newsletter ourselves. Beryl Manion took over the publishing of the magazine after Pat Smith. This keeps the state and the national floral art community abreast of what we are about each quarter.

1993… Forbes held a school. Floral artists were introduced to the European Design at a workshop in Inverell.

1994… The floral art section of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) of NSW affiliated with NSW Judges School. Hilda Upperton was made the organisation’s patron.

1995… The organisation became incorporated. Now to be known as NSW Floral Art Inc. During this year flamboyant Maurice Auguste, international designer extraordinaire was a great hit at Inverell and District Floral Art Association exhibition. Closer ties began with NSW RHS with NSWFA members competing at Epping Shows and demonstrators invited to each others functions. Increasing use of commercial flowers instead of garden flowers in competition and demonstrations.

1996… Gunnedah FAA hosted a cut flower school. Nineteen members attended the WAFA World Show in New Zealand.

1997… Gunnedah hosted the NSW championships, which was opened by the State parliament member’s wife Lyn Windsor, demonstrators were Brian Payne and Doreen Winkley. This was to be a forerunner to the National Flowers Show in Tamworth the following year. This was the year that the World Flower Show came to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time in Wellington, New Zealand. A large contingent went from NSW. It was a wonderful week of flowers, culture and friendship, also seeing New Zealand’s marvellous use of their native flax. NSW exhibitors were Betty Cadwalader with a first in her class, Anne Neuss received Highly Commended. Irene McIndoe, Peter Rainger and Gay Petit also competed.

1998… The National Flower Show was held in Tamworth. This show is held each year in a different state and became known at Tamworth as the National Flower Show. This highly successful exhibition was held in conjunction with the Northwest (New England and NW NSW) Garden Clubs of Australia as it was thought that this group would attract more interest that the floral art on its own. The Governor General Sir William Deane opened the show. The gala opening included their Excellencies, the Mayor & Mayoress of Tamworth, President of NSW Garden Club of Australia, and several parliamentarians from both State and Federal parliaments. Maurice August performed a flamboyant floral theatre “Maurice’s Journey Through The Twentieth Century”. Music, costume, waving gladioli and futuristic arrangements completed the entertaining night. Margaret Wilkin of New Zealand presented her floral theatre “Morocco Bound” where she began with the flower markets of Paris to a finale of golden drapes and fluttering ostrich feathers in a desert tent. Margaret Higgins of Walcha, Lucy Weller of the Gloucester group and Ann Barwick were the NSWFA executive. A special show committee of the participating organisations included Anne Neuss as chairperson and Irene McIndoe as joint secretary, both of Glen Innes and Ann Barwick was treasurer. Doreen Winkley of Grafton agreed to become the chief judge responsible for judging education. AFAA annual meeting moved towards a national handbook.

1999… Blanket insurance available for the eighteen affiliated floral art groups. Lynnette Brown and Mary Sweeney design the Australian Exhibit at the World Flower Show in Durban, South Africa. Anne Neuss of Glenn Innes, Margaret Higgins and Ann Barwick elected as executive.

2000… Australian Flower Show was held in Brisbane in April and Irene McIndoe demonstrated. Education program continues with trainee judges, refresher courses for established judges and a judge’s panel to assist Doreen Winkley. Lynnette Brown attended WAFA seminar 2000 with five other Australian floral artists. Life membership was bestowed on Viola Armstrong and Carmel Hartman of Tenterfield, Marion Snape of Gunnedah, Olga Lisle of Walcha and Ann Barwick of Willow Tree. Groups throughout the State continued with programs of exhibitions, competition, seminars and workshops around ever evolving trends in floral art. State, interstate and overseas artists were teaching and demonstrating including Michelle Skelton from New Zealand.

2001… NSW applied to host Australian Flower Show in 2004

2002… Mary Sweeney demonstrated at the World Flower Show in Glasgow and together with Madhu Shah they exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show winning a gold medal with Australia’s entry in ‘Gardens of the World’. Irene McIndoe, Heather Shaw, Lynnette Brown, Mary Sweeney and Madhu Shah compete successfully in Glasgow. The AFAA manual steps closer to reality. Plans are underway for the hosting of the 2004 Australian Flower Show in September. A number of open gardens are held to raise funds. Marie Lennon of Canberra is invited to compete at ‘Canada Blooms’ in Toronto and wins a first in her class.

2003: Craig Bullock from UK workshop in Windsor.

2004: 24-26 SEPTEMBER THE THIRD AUSTRALIAN FLOWER SHOW

NATURE’S NETWORK Held at Windsor Function Centre

DEMONSTRATORS:

Irene Brockwell, Mark Pampling and Richard Go

Madhu Shah (NSW). Margaret Ferris (Queensland). Norma Gordon (Tasmania). Marie Lennon (ACT), Noreen Donovan (Victoria). Dianne Buckles (Western Australia). Alethia Quick(South Australia).

2006: CONTEMPORARY FLORAL DESIGN GROUPS FORMED

2007: Demonstrations by RICHARD GO

2008: NSWFAA DEMONSTRATORS COURSE COMMENCED Formulated  and Designed by Jan Norman, Madhu Shah and Lynnette Brown.

2006 – 2009 NSWFAA held Management Committee of the Australian Floral Art Association PRESIDENT:  Irene McIndoe, VICE PRESIDENT:  Madhu Shah, SECRETARY: Mary Sweeney, TREASURER: Olga Lisle and William McIndoe, COMMITTEE: Anne Deveridge, Lynnette Brown, Lorraine Moore, Margaret Higgins, Judith Little, Ruth Morris, Effie Crawley,  AFAA NEWSLETTER: Lorraine Moore, PUBLICITY: Judith Little, WEBSITE MANAGER: Peter Brown

2009: FLORA AUSTRALIS

FLORA AUSTRALIS COMMITTEE 2006-2009: CHAIRMAN:  Cecily Rogers, VICE CHAIRMAN: Madhu Shah, SECRETARY: Mary Sweeney, TREASURER: Ruth Morris, PUBLICITY: Judith Little

2010: HANA FASION TEAM JAPAN – Mr Hironori Komatsu (English Translator and Hana Fasion Team Member) Demonstrator and Workshop Tutor Mr Tomoki Uchiyama.

2010:  HUNTER VALLEY GARDENS FESTIVAL of FLOWERS: Demonstrations and Workshops with nine NSW Members. Team Leader Irene McIndoe

2011: HUNTER VALLEY GARDENS FESTIVAL of FLOWERS: INSTALLATIONS in the GARDEN Team Leader Jenny Anderson. Demonstrations: Team Leader Irene McIndoe Participants: Maggie Searle, Robyn Lyon, Effie Crawley, Margaret Higgins, Mahdu Shah, Mary Sweeney, Peter Rainger

2012:  STEIN ARE HANSEN from Norway; JUDGES REFRESHER COURSE #1 with MARK PAMPLING

2013 JUDGES REFRESHER COURSE #2 with MARK PAMPLING

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Awards and Recognition

NSWFAA LIFE MEMBERS

1991 HILDA UPPERTON in recognition for her outstanding dedication to the establishment and running of a judges school organization in the country area.

2000 CARMEL HARTMAN, VIOLA ARMSTRONG, ANNE BARWICK, MARION SNAPE, OLGA LISLE

2007 ANNE NEUSS, DOREEN WINKLEY, MARGARET HIGGINS

2009 IRENE MCINDOE, MARY SWEENEY OAM

 

Other Awards and Recognition:

2002 CITIZEN of the YEAR in WALCHA – MARGARET HIGGINS

2002

SHIRLEY HUNTER OAM – Parkes Floral Art Group

BETTY MUZYCZUK AM & MBE – Parkes Floral Art Group

 

2007

JOAN O’BRIEN AWARD through the GARDEN CLUBS of AUSTRALIA for promoting Floral Art.

Irene McIndoe

 

2008

JOAN O’BRIEN AWARD through the GARDEN CLUBS of AUSTRALIA for promoting Floral Art.

Madhu Shah

 

2013

ANNE WILLIAMS CLARK MEDALLION (GARDEN CLUBS AUSTRALIA) for Floral Art

Margaret Higgins – Walcha

 

2014

ANNE WILLIAMS CLARK MEDALLION (GARDEN CLUBS AUSTRALIA) for Floral Art

Effie Crawley – Gloucester

 

GARDEN CLUBS AUSTRALIA JOAN O’BRIEN AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE BY AN INDIVIDUAL IN FLORAL ART

Doreen Winkley – Grafton

 

 

 

 

 

 

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