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Issue 57- November 2003

News from the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian National Herbarium (CANB), for the information of CPBR and ANBG staff and volunteers.

CPBR News is produced monthly. If you wish to contribute, please email your suggestions to Val Oliver, the coordinator.

Val Oliver: ph (02) 6246 5533; fax (02) 6246 5249; email:


1. Staffing News

Happy Retirement (again) John Henty

After 12 years as an Herbarium Volunteer and some 20 years after he retired from working in the Department of Capital Territory, John Henty is retiring from his work with us. John was in the very first intake of Herbarium Volunteers organised by Bob Makinson in 1991. During John's 12 years with us, he has helped in various sections, in particular he has done vascular mounting, helped with collection sorting, starred on Open Days, helped in the ANBG photographic section and for the past more than half dozen years he has been a great help to me in the team packaging cryptogam specimens. Staff from these sections join me in thanking John for his efforts which are greatly appreciated.

John is not putting his feet up - he is leaving us because he needs the time for other activities! We wish him well; we shall miss him and his numerous stories about life in the navy, happenings in the department during his time and stories of people in Tasmania. We will farewell him at a morning tea on his last morning working with us. All who know him please feel free to join us in the ANBG Admin building tea room at 10:30 am on Wednesday 17 December 2003.

Thank you John for some great yarns, good memories, wonderful work and enjoyable times; we wish you and Jean all the best for the coming years and we hope you can come in for the occasional morning tea with us from time to time.

[Judith Curnow]


2. General Centre matters

10th anniversary event – CPBR

10 years ago, it seemed like a good idea at the time. 10 years on, the good idea has more then proved itself!!!

In 1993 the ANBG was facing a difficult future situation in terms of maintaining a herbarium and research side to its activities, with the progressive decline in funding. Equally, CSIRO had valuable research elements in plant biodiversity that had uncertainty for their future succour. Yet a Botanic garden without a herbarium or research potential is only half a beast.. And a Division dealing with plant science which does not have a focus on plant biodiversity and the conservation needs which flow from knowledge acquired in that activity is only half a division….

I was worried that we faced a future where lack of cohesion between the key players of the Commonwealth would really lay us open to swingeing cuts and eventual death of the key elements. So I suggested to Jim Peacock we have lunch. We did, and we found we had a common vision and view on this, and the rest is history.

But a history made possible by the dedication and support of the key players, and I must single out Jim croft, Murray Fagg and Judy West, who supplemented their not inconsiderable botanical skills by a display of leadership skills and sheer fortitude and determination to make the model work. It is their efforts, supplemented by others who are no longer with us, but in the end by all of you, who have made the CPBR a reality, and a force to be reckoned with.

I should like also to acknowledge the role played by Derek Anderson who as Chair of the Board provided us with beautifully neutral chairing, yet always with an eye to produce the very best results for the centre – and for Australian research, management and conservation of our unique plant biodiversity.

Of course, there are many others who could – maybe should- be mentioned but I stop here. Simply to say that if you had had this dinner last week I could have been with you, but instead I have to be eating fondue and chocolate in some Swiss chalet instead!!

I have many excellent memories of the achievements we made in ANCA, in Kakadu, in Uluru, in external Territories, in Wildlife Trade, yes even in obscure conventions like Ramsar. But my most treasured achievement is in fact the establishment of the CPBR – and having spawned it, watching it grow and develop into first-rate international organisation. Blending the best of ANBG and CSIRO, in the finest traditions of genetic manipulation for which the Division is Famous!

So, from icy Switzerland, enjoy the evening, and maybe you can make the 20th celebration at a time when I will be around!!!

[Peter Bridgewater]




3. General Centre Matters

The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for 17 December 2003.


[Val Oliver]



Updated 25 March, 2004 by webmaster