History of the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority
Reproduced from the typed news-sheet known then as Australian Systematic Botany Newsletter, later becoming the Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter.
Newsletter No. 5, July 1975
Australian Cultivar Registration Authority
A Report on its Activities and History
by David Young
As early December 1958 it was suggested by the Secretary of the International Commission for the Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants, Dr. H. R. Fletcher, that the Society for Growing Australian Plants (SGAP) should act as a National Registration Authority for cultivars of genera endemic to Australia.
However it was not until 1962 that the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority (ACRA) was formed. The Authority was made up of members from SGAP and from the Royal Botanic Gardens and National Herbarium in Melbourne.
The Authority functioned with varying degrees of success over the next few years.
In May 1970, the Director of City Parks in Canberra, Mr. D.W. Shoobridge, indicated that as a major part the Canberra Botanic Gardens plant development and research programme was to be concerned with plant breeding, it would be advantageous for the Gardens to have representation on ACRA.
Accordingly after approaching the remaining members in Melbourne they agreed that Canberra Botanic Gardens should be represented on the Authority by Mr. J. W. Wrigley. At the same time the membership of the Authority was enlarged to include the SGAP at the Federal level by the acceptance of Mr. W.H. Payne as a member.
At a meeting of the Authority on 4th May 1973 at the National Herbarium, Melbourne, it was decided that the Authority should be relocated in Canberra and its membership increased to give the Authority a broader and more representative base.
Canberra Botanic Gardens is vitally concerned with the cultivation and horticultural improvement of Australian native plants and in early 1974 a Technical officer, David Young, was appointed to look after cultivars as part of his duties. For this reason it was logical to base the Authority in Canberra.
The Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Cairns. were asked to nominate a member, as was the Federation of Australian Nurserymen's Association (FANA). Nominations were received from Sydney, Perth Adelaide and the FANA while Brisbane and Cairns declined representation because of distances and financial problems of getting their nominees to Canberra for meetings. They indicated however an eager willingness to cooperate with and help the Authority in any way possible and wished to be kept informed of the Authority's activities.
During February 1974, Mr. A. Court, who was a member of the Authority in Melbourne, took up duties as Officer-in-Charge of the new Herbarium within the Canberra Botanic Gardens. This meant that there was a nucleus of ACRA members in Canberra
The new and enlarged Authority met in Canberra on 31 May 1974.
The Australian cultivar Registration Authority is recognised by the International Commission for the Nomenclature of cultivated Plants of the IUBS.
At present the Authority has a representative(s) from the following institutions: Society for Growing Australian Plants (Federal); Botanic Garden and State Herbarium, Adelaide, S.A.; Royal Botanic Gardens and National Herbarium, Melbourne, Vic.; Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth, W.A.; Royal Botanic Gardens and National Herbarium, Sydney, N.S.W.; Federation of Australian Nurserymen's Associations; Botanic Gardens, Canberra, A.C.T.; Royal Botanic Gardens, Hobart, Tas.; Townsvill Botanic Gardens, Qld.; Darwin Botanic Gardens, N.T. The other representatives are Mr. A. Hargrave (SGAP, Victorian Region) and Dr. J.H. Willis, formerly Senior Botanist, Melbourne.