Life Members Of Our Club

Clyde & Joyce Cunningham

Joyce and Clyde[/caption]Clyde and Joyce have been founding members of the N.D.O.F.S.

Joyce remembers that the founding members did a lot of work to get the society off  the ground. Starting off, there was little money for example for props for the displays at shows. So on a regular
basis members would take turns to go to the Eumundi Markets on a Saturday to sell raffle tickets or have Orchid Displays in the School of Arts hall, to raise money.

We supported all of the societies when they had their Orchid shows, because of a lack of money, we use  to empty the orchids and other plants out of our foam boxes so we could use them for props.Our hearts use to be in our mouths when one member brought in big pots of Cymbidium Orchids to the show. They then balance  them up on these boxes at quite a height.

These were times when some societies had a theme for their show and you had to incorporate this theme into your display.  We had all Displays and no benching in those days.

As our Society prospered we got some money and a couple of members who did welding, made some props for the Society, which was much appreciated.

In the year 1988 an Orchid Expo was held at Caloundra. This was a very big affair that went or a week.
Cut flowers were entered from other countries. A wonderful experience. Noosa Orchid Society
have held a show every year since it’s founding.

In the early years my husband and I use to enter into most of the Orchid shows and help with the
setup of the displays. Noosa Orchid Society did very well in these Displays and nearly always use
to win a placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

At one Caloundra show my husband and I took a Mini Cat., “L.C Mini Purple ‘ Tamasmi'” to the show. I had this orchid carefully packed in a small box looking after it as well as possible, when a lady said to me: ” Is that for a raffle prize?” , and I said : “no, it is to put in the display”.
This little Orchid won the Champion of the Show that year  and we were thrilled!

Clyde and I were the first Life Members and still enjoy
being  members of the Noosa District Orchid and
Foliage Society today.

I do love all Orchid Flowers and it is wonderful to see
the beautiful colours and shapes that nature provides.
My favourite Orchids are the Catttleya’s.

–  Joyce Cunningham

Carramar – 1995

Noel Willis


I have been involved in growing native orchids for about 50 years.
I remembered seeing them growing in the forests when working on timber trucks.

I admired them from the beginning, their dainty flowers, and the way they clung to rocks on mountain sides.

I met other people who also liked them, this was when living and working in Sydney. We formed the Australian Native Orchid Society; therefore I was a foundation member. Meetings were held in Sydney.

At that stage I then lived in Thornleigh.
One person that I can remember well was Wal Upton. Others were  Murray Corrigan, Ronald Kerr and Ira Butler.

Later I also joined Berowra Orchid Society. When with Berowra we staged a show in the Sydney Town Hall, 1962, referred to in the book by the late Frank Slattery OAM. “The Blooming Years”. It was called Berowra Goes Native.

I often went with other growers into the busharound Sydney, and collected plants – I had a license to collect (off fallen trees).

During this time I was in correspondence with David L. Jones, and he mentioned me in his book: “Native Orchids of Australia” I passed information on to him to notify him of the location of different Orchid Species that I found.

I moved to Queensland in 1974 with my orchids on the removalist truck. For quite a while when living in Pomona, I joined Nambour Orchid Society, but found driving to night meetings a little worrying, also Gympie for a while.

Then moved to Cooroy in 1989, built (again) a shade house. I was still working, and joined Noosa Orchid Society. Meetings were at night in the Cooroy Uniting Church Hall. When I retired, we built a new house and a new shade house, that was my priority to house my collection of orchids. I was made a “Life Member” of Noosa District Orchid Society because of my long involvement in growing Australian Natives and for being a member for so many years.


In Memory - Reg Dyson

In the early 1960’s my mother-in-law won a Cymbidium Orchid as a prize in a bowls competition. This Cymbidium never flowered and was just a mass of roots no dirt. A few years later it fell over and out of the plastic pot it was in, I mentioned it to a next door neighbour. She said bring it over and we’ll see if we can re-pot it.

Those Days I knew nothing about Orchids. I helped her to divide the Cymbidium into three plants. Then all three plants flowered, one had two spikes

That same year my in-laws came down to Melbourne to stay for a couple of weeks. Advertised in the local paper was an orchid show at a neighbouring suburb.

We all visited and father-in-law bought and presented my wife and I with a Cymbidium Orchid.  “Borough Green Opal “
a beautiful green flower. Included was a little booklet “How to grow Cymbidiums” .  

This was the start of my Orchid Career

I quickly joined the Melbourne Eastern Orchid club and also was a member of the Victorian Orchid Society. After studying for a few years I was appointed as a judgeon the Victorian Orchid club’s Judging panel for 1984.

I retired as an Engineer with the Melbourne and Metropoliton Board of Works in 1982. I  bought a block on Noosa Sound and built a  house in 1981. We use to spent our holidays in Noosa and caravaned up to Cairns where I took the opportunity of adding to my orchid collection.

I acquired quite a lot of knowledge on tropical orchids and was partially successful in growing them in heated glass house conditions in Melbourne.

Because of health we decided to sell up and move to Noosa in 1985 and had my judging transferred to Queensland.

I joined the N.D.O.F.S. Club, where I attended monthly meetings at St Johns hall Cooroy.  At that time the club was less than a year old. I was given my show number 15 and entered in shows and meetings, until  my health deteriorated due to an old war injury which caused the intermittent loss of my legs.

I continued for a number of years and contributed, entries to the shows. Because of my health I was unable to drive and was informed that I would probably be in a wheel chair within 6 months.

For this reason I was unable to carry out judging and although for a while contributed and entered orchids in various shows, I was finally granted leave from the club and did not return until my health permitted.

On my return, meetings were held at the Presbyterian Hall,  Tewantin.

Over the years, I have given numerous talks on various orchid genera both cold and warmgrowing varieties.


Neil & Ella Walker

                   Phaius Tankervillea `Marolyn`

Grown by Neil-Ella Walker of Tewantin.

Awarded an AM
Won:    1st in Class 41
Won:    Best Australian Native
Won:    Champion Species Species
And Reserve Champion of Show

This orchid was judged for this award by the panel of STOCQ Judges, who judged the Show. The Phaius Tankervillea orchid is the emblem of the Noosa Orchid and Foliage Society.

It grows in swampy ground semi shaded ground. It used to be prevalent in coastal areas around Noosa and off shore islands, and down into Northern NSW,  however collectors and vandals and Developers,  have virtually decimated these beautiful native plant populations.

This plant is grown in Cymbidium mix and is permanently standing in water, they are gross feeders and love cow manure and or Dynamic Lifter, it is amazing how much water they consume.

I know in nature they would grow out in full sun to semi shade etc, but ours grows behind 50% shade cloth but virtually up against it,  this plant is five years old and was purchased from John-Kaye Green of Gympie as a seedling.


Lois Walters

I have been a member of the Noosa District Orchid & Foliage Society for 12 years and have just had the honour of being awarded life membership.

From a young age, growing up in suburban Sydney, I always had a love of plants, mainly succulents at that stage.  When I was 12, I was given some Cymbidium orchid backbulbs which I duly planted in jam tins and waited 5 years for them to mature and flower.  That was the year I left school.

From that point, I was ‘hooked’ and my new hobby began to grow, with frequent trips to Orchid Nurseries to increase my collection.  Many books were read and lectures attended to enhance my knowledge of these beautiful plants.  Years later and a family in tow, I brought the cymbidiums to Queensland, ignoring advice from other orchid growers that they would not thrive in the sub-tropics.  I decided to prove everyone wrong – but alas – disaster.  They did not flower.
I then realised I had to grow orchids suited to the sub tropics so visited Robertson’s Nursery at Woombye with $200 in my pocket and asked John for a selection of orchids which I could successfully grow here in Noosa.

Well, I had never realised how many different types of Dendrobiums there were, let alone the Cattleya, Vanda and Oncidium alliances, so thought I had best join the local Orchid Society to gain some cultivation expertise.  That was in 2003.  Little by little, I gradually sorted my hard canes from my soft canes and Brassavolas from Brassias.

There is so much to be learned at Orchid Club meetings by asking questions, listening and observing.   Attending our own Orchid Shows, as well as those of the other Clubs in our area has also been an excellent source of information, as well as enjoying the camaraderie of like-minded people.  Being on the NDOFS’ committee for many years has also given me the opportunity to learn a little more about other member’s cultivation techniques.

They say orchid growing is a disease and it certainly is – I can’t stop buying more and more orchids, even some that are a challenge to grow here, e.g. Miltoniopsis.

Unlike most other Club members, I don’t have a shade house, just a pergola with 50% shadecloth on the roof and roll down sides of 50% shadecloth for the summer months.  There’s certainly no trouble with ventilation, but the dendrobium beetle does present a few problems.  

Nevertheless, I am totally addicted to orchid growing and would recommend it to any plant lovers who like a challenge.

 I love all my orchids but would have to say my favourite is my recently acquired Rl. Digbyana.