Camellias Australia – a Septuagenarian !

Camellias Australia Turns 70 by Jenny Donohoe

Camellias Australia’s 70 th Anniversary in 2022 has not gone unrecognized. For the last 12 months it has been difficult to know how to celebrate this momentous occasion. Due to COVID and the uncertainty of face-to-face celebrations nothing has been planned to-date, but it can be announced that our Camellia News Journal due in December 2022 will be our focus for historical celebrations.

Camellias Australia has undergone a few name changes since it was first formed by a small group of Camellia enthusiasts. In our archives we are lucky to have one of the first documented meetings that was held in 1952. The following people agreed to set up the society: Professor Eben G. Waterhouse, Mr. Walter Hazlewood, Mr. Alexander W. Jessep and Dr. Chrichton R. Merrillees. Their initiatives led to the launching of the society on 1 st June 1952.

Camellia News publications have been issued from 1961–2021. The society produced newsletters before the formal printing of a Camellia News journal i.e., ‘New Series No.1 March 1961 that will be published in March, June and September which replaces the second series of Newsletters published nine times a year in which the Society and Branch Newsletters were combined’. Many interesting articles on camellias were included e.g., ‘Why I Like Single Camellias’ by E G Waterhouse, NSW, ‘The Hardiness of the Camellia in South Australia’ by Roger Hall (SA), “Camellias Released for 1961’ by Hazlewood Bros, Epping, NSW.

In December 1977, Camellia News No.66 was the Silver Anniversary Issue containing articles of historical value. The editor of this journal was Mrs. Maise Chettle, Aldgate SA. This production contained ‘Some Early Registrants of Camellia in NSW’, ‘25 Years of Camellia Shows in Wollongong’, ‘Vale Professor Waterhouse’ and many more. One of the most important articles was by Alex Jessep (Victoria) ‘Twenty-Five Years of Progress’ plus many more very interesting articles.

The Autumn 2016 issue of The Journal of Camellias Australia Inc, was a special 200 th Edition of Camellia News. The editor was Charles Lee, our editor for some 16 years. This edition celebrated the society’s 200th journal since becoming Camellia News in 1961 (although technically it was our 201 st because No.58 journal was used twice). This journal is packed with interesting articles, registrations, Camellia photos as well as historical photos. Charles researched and incorporated a fold out centre on ‘Where It All Began’. An article by Tom Savige, reprinted from Camellia News No.78 1981, is titled ‘Australia’s First Camellias’, another gem of an article. The society proposes to reprint some of these articles throughout the year as part of our celebrative publication series along with any news and articles received from our members.

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