Our History

The Native Orchid Society of South Australia is affiliated with the Australasian Native Orchid Society of Australia (ANOS).

NOSSA began in 1977 as the result of some SGAP (Society Growing Australian Plants, now the Austalian Plant Society) members discussing the need for a separate native orchid group. There had been a native orchid study group but this did not last very long.

The leading figures were Roy Hargreaves (deceased) and Les Nesbitt both of whom were made Life Members.  Both saw a need in South Australia for a group to be available to be called upon:

  • to rescue native orchids from sites about to be cleared for agricultural purposes or development,
  • to cultivate and propagate rescued native orchid species to ensure their survival given man’s threats on their natural environment,
  • and to promote the need to conserve and protect South Australia’s native orchids.

On Tuesday, February 22, 1977, a meeting was held at the home of Mr and Mrs L Nesbitt, Vale Park to prepare the way for an inaugural meeting.  At the meeting were the following people:

  • Mr Colin Jennings, President Orchid Clubs South Australia (OCSA), Chariman
  • Mr Les Nesbitt, President Northern and Eastern Districts Orchid Society (NEDOS), member of OCSA and SGAP
  • Mr Warwick Pybus, President-elect SGAP South Australian region
  • Mr Peter Hornsby, member NEDOS and SGAP
  • Mr Roy Hargreaves, member OCSA, SGAP and South Coast Orchid Club

The inaugural meeting was held on 22nd March, 1977 at the Assembly Hall, Goodwood Boys High School and was chaired by Collin Jennings (at the time President of the Orchid Club of South Australia).  48 people attended and 44 became foundation members.  (Bob Bates was present at the meeting but didn’t join until the next month.)

The Office Bearers for 1977 were:

  • President – Les Nesbitt
  • Vice President (and Editor) – Peter Hornsby
  • Secretary – Roy Hargreaves
  • Treasurer – Ron Robjohns
  • Committee – Audrey Howe, Mary Earle, Kevin Western
  • Auditor – Keith Yates (who had strongly supported the forming of NOSSA)

As of January 2016, of the 44  foundation members plus Bob Bates, 9 are still members of the society.  Over the years the following members have been received Life Membership:

  • 1983 Roy Hargreaves*(Foundation Member)
  • 1984 Harold Goldsack*
  • 1985 Ron Robjohns* (Foundation Member)
  • 1985 Joe Simmons* (Foundation Member)
  • 1986 Les Nesbitt (Foundation Member)
  • 1988 Don Wells* (Foundation Member)
  • 1997 Gerry Carne
  • 1998 Robert (Bob) Bates (Foundation Member)
  • 1999 Reg Shooter*
  • 2005 William (Bill) Dear
  • 2012 Cathy Houston (Secretary for many years and Conservation Officer)
  • 2014 David Hirst (Editor 2002 – 2013)
  • 2015 Thelma Bridle (Conservation Officer for many years)

(* = deceased)

Within the first year membership reached 118 and peaked at more than 300 in 1986.  As of November, 2016 membership (counting the individuals in couples and families) is just over 270.  Most of NOSSA members reside in South Australia but there are also many interstate and overseas members.

Initially a monthly newsletter was produced but from April 1978 it was elevated to Journal status and published monthly for eleven months of the year.  The majority of the articles and reports are submitted by NOSSA members.  Our articles have been republished by other ANOS groups in their publications.

In 1978 a competition was held to decide upon a logo and the winner was announced in the June Journal. The entries were quite varied but Chris Butler’s design depicting Leptoceras menziesii (previously named Caladenia menziesii), common name  Hare Orchid or Rabbit Ears. It was considered to have a “distinctive and attractive design in colours of red and white on a green background”.

NOSSA Logo Entries.jpg
Samples of some of the entries for NOSSA Logo

Also in 1978, the first constitution, prepared by Ron Robjohns, was adopted.  Over the years this has been adjusted to reflect the current situation with the last major change occurring in 2007.  It is currently under revision for 2017.

In 2005, NOSSA joined the electronic age with the Journal being produced  electronically, and the commencement of the NOSSA website designed by Ben Jacobs.  There was a bit of an hiatus between 2009 and 20011 with the website not functioning properly but in 2011 Kris Kopicki rectified this situation; and on March 8, 2014 a third version of the website was launched.  2016 saw the launch of the NOSSA Facebook page.

From the start of the society, one of the emphasis was conservation.  For some details, click on the post Who Was Our First Conservation Officer?


NOSSA Journals

NOSSA Conservation & Growing Booklet

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