AIH 2016 Annual Awards

Every year, the Institute celebrates excellence in horticulture with diverse projects, experiences and people acknowledged and recognised for their achievements. In a year that has delivered major disruption across the world, it is timely that the Australian Institute of Horticulture celebrates these superb people and their projects.

November 24, 2016

Held in association with the Australian Society of Horticultural Science (AuSHS) and the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) during the International Symposia on Tropical and Temperate Horticulture Cairns Convention Centre 20-25th November 2016

Acknowledgment of Country

We acknowledge and pay respects to the Gimuy-walubarra yidi people people of the Cairns and all their descendants both past and present. We also acknowledge the many Aboriginal people from other regions as well as Torres Strait and South Sea Islander people who now live in the local area and have made an important contribution to the community.

Golden Wattle Award

Jane Edmanson

Jane Edmanson hailing from Mildura began her horticulture journey back in 1975. At first she pursued a teaching career and completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education at Monash University but later completed certificates in horticulture and landscape technology from Burnley. Jane decided to pursue a career in horticulture starting work at Williams retail nursery in Melbourne then as a Nursery Hand at the Victorian Schools Nursery in August 1976 – eventually being promoted to the position of Deputy Director after 15 years.

Silver Gum Award

Sponsored By Horticultural Training P/L

Rod Drew

The Silver Gum Award has been awarded to Emeritus Professor Roderick Drew. Rod Drew has performed many leadership roles in both professional and voluntary organisations. His research has focused on Tropical Fruits and he has worked on collaborative projects in many tropical countries.

Fellowship Award

Christopher Poulton

Christopher Poulton has been a member for 38 years, and has served as National Vice President, NSW State President, and Sydney Convenor from 2013 to 2016. He has multiple qualifications in horticulture including green-keeping, arboriculture, horticulture and landscape design.

Australian Horticulturist of the Year

Sponsored by Fitzpatrick Insurance

Simon Leake


Simon began his industry career back in 1981 having graduated with first class honours in agricultural science majoring in soils science. Even though Simons first choice was a joint Horticulture and Soil Science major being keen to follow Production and Amenity Horticulture the university would not allow him to do a joint major and so soil science won out.

Australian Horticulture Student of the Year

Sandi Cleary

The Horticultural Student of the Year for 2016 has been awarded to Sandi Cleary of Coffs Harbour NSW. Sandi completed a double Diploma of Horticulture and Organic Farming during which she achieved an exceptionally high standard being top student in both courses.

Student Encouragement Award

Sarah Arthurs + Willis Daveson

Sarah Arthurs and Willis Daveson are unable to be with us. They have both worked extensively in the parks and gardens team of the Copper Coast Council in South Australia maintaining some of the highly visual areas, in particular, the statement entrances to towns. Sarah and Willis have since secured further work within the Council have applied their skills maintaining the systems.

Sir John Pagan BBM Youth Support Horticulture Scholarship

Jack Hutchinson

Jack is 17 years of age, and a trainee and assistant manager at Honeysuckle Gardens in Mosman, Sydney. He is studying towards a Certificate III in Urban Horticulture at Ryde Horticultural School.

Secretary's Award of Excellence in Horticultural Literature

Georgina Reid

The Planthunter is an online magazine devoted to celebrating plants and the varied ways humans interact with them. It’s the culmination of the many years Georgina Reid has spent pondering, exploring, and documenting the various ways humans relate to the natural world as a designer, writer and thinker.

Award of Excellence

Toni Salter

Congratulations to Toni Salter MAIH RH who is unable to be present. She is President of Cultivate NSW and recently led the Therapeutic Landscapes conference in NSW in October 2016.

Toni, a member of the Australian Institute of Horticulture, is also a Diversional Therapist, community teacher and has been a talk-back guest on ABC Radio.

Award of Excellence

Paul Kirkpatrick


Award of Excellence presented in recognition of Paul’s commitment to the advancement of professional horticultural practices in his region of NSW via design and maintenance of large gardens on South Coast and Southern Highlands of NSW.

Award of Merit

Kim Courtenay

Kim is an educator and project developer with North Region TAFE Western Australia, specifically the Kimberly.

He has been developing a Project with the Bidyadanga Community of plantation grown Gubinge , also known as Kakadu Plums that would otherwise be wild harvested. This year they have harvested the first fruit from the plantation.

Award of Merit

Cairns City Council

Councillor John Schilling from Cairns City Council accept Certificate and Trophy.

Cairns Regional Council for creative urban planning and greening of the city’s Central Business District. This work has included the preparation of the CBD Master Plan and ongoing streetscape upgrades including Lake Street with extensive tree and garden plantings.

Award of Merit

Kim Woods - Rabbidge

The online blog Our Australian Gardens has established a wide Australian and international following as a highly respected digital based visual garden experience.

Award of Merit

Steven Wells

Steven Wells for Austin Health Therapeutic Program. This innovative role is focused on creating gardens to improve the therapeutic environment of Austin Health across all three hospital sites for the benefit of patients, visitors and staff. Established and coordinated by Steven Wells, the horticultural therapy program utilises garden related activities to assist with the treatment and recovery of patients during recovery from illness and/or injury.

Award of Merit

Attila Kappitany

For his work promoting and educating about Australian Succulents through his website and his book series on Australian plants.

Award of Merit

Peter Kirkland

Peter Kirkland qualified horticulturist and founder of Plantfile has spent the last 20 years developing the database.

International Society of Horticultural Science Medal

Professor Rod Drew presented the International Society of Horticultural Science Medals:

Professor Rob Paull, Dr Alain Rival, Professor Sisir Mitra, Dr Andrew East, Dr Gordon Rogers, Dr Sophie Parks, Dr Peter Batt, Professor Patricia Paiva, Professor Renato Paiva, Dr Wen-Li Lee, Dr Songpol Somsri, Dr Natalie Dillon, Dr Hannah Jaenicke.

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