Formation of the Palm and Cycad Society of Western Australia
The Society was originally formed in 1985 and grew from a friendship between founder and life member, Ken Adcock and long time member Peter Skinner, who both worked at the Department of Agriculture. Both keen gardeners, they discovered they had a mutual interest in growing palms and cycads and would take every opportunity to buy up plants from the few local nurseries that sold palms and cycads at that time, most notably Wanneroo Wild Flower Nursery, Great Western Nursery and Lena Nursery. This was supplemented by visits to Garden Week where the odd small plant could be found.
Ken and Peter contacted the Horticultural Council of WA and with help and advice from the Council's magazine editor, Eric Mole, and other acquaintances including Harold Shaw, Mike Goodrich and Don Brennan, organised a meeting which formally established the Palm and Cycad Society of WA Inc. This first meeting was held at the offices of the Council's Western Gardener magazine.
The first executive committee comprised of Ken Adcock as President, Mike Goodridge as Vice-President, Peter Skinner as Secretary, Jane Element as Treasurer and Pat Oriell, Don Brennan, Andy Lewkowski, Joe Tomlinson and Alan and Louise Lane as committee members. Kate Clifford designed the Society's logo and later her husband cast it in plaster. A constitution was drafted and a lecture theatre at Bentley Technical College secured for club meetings. As numbers grew however, the Society moved to larger premises at the Leederville Town Hall. Later still, it moved to its present location at the Rotary Hall in Sandgate Street, South Perth where it has remained for many years.
In the early years, the Society put on impressive displays at Garden Week where plant sales were very profitable. Almost from the beginning of the Society, there were plans for a palm park and unsuccessful attempts were made to establish gardens in areas such as Forrestfield, Bayswater and Subiaco. Eventually, after much hard work, a botanic garden was established in 1989 at Gascoyne Park, Woodvale on 5.2ha of land made available by the City of Wanneroo. The Park is still going strong today and is managed by a small dedicated team of members through monthly working bees.
Although membership numbers have fluctuated over the years, the Society today has remained one of the most enduring and successful garden clubs in Western Australia.
Life members of The Palm and Cycad Society of Western Australia include;
Ken Adcock, Norm Patterson, Gwen Patterson, Alan Lane, Joe Tomlinson, Jenny Tomlinson, Ken Lee, Joy Lee, John Banasiewicz, George Sevastos and Linda Therkelsen.