Two of HMAA’s members were recognised in the King’s Birthday honours.

Order of Australia Honour for Vice Chairman John Colwill
HMAA’s esteemed WA Committee Vice Chairman, John Colwill, has been recognised for his remarkable contributions to horticulture and awarded the distinguished Order of Australia as part of the King’s Birthday Honours.
The Order of Australia is one of the most prestigious awards bestowed by the Australian Government, recognising outstanding achievements and service to the nation. It acknowledges individuals who have made a significant impact in their respective fields, inspiring others through their dedication and commitment.
John Colwill’s recognition for his service to horticulture is a testament to his unwavering passion and tireless efforts in enhancing and promoting the beauty of nature. His invaluable contributions have left an indelible mark on Araluen Botanic Park, elevating its reputation as a leading destination of garden excellence.

The significance of John’s achievement extends beyond the boundaries of the Park. His commitment to horticulture has had a far-reaching impact, inspiring countless individuals to connect with nature, embrace its beauty, and understand the importance of preserving our botanical heritage.

WA is immensely proud to have John Colwill as its Vice Chair and his recognition further highlights the calibre of individuals who contribute to the community.

In response to his honour John said: “It is really not for me, rather it is for horticulture in general. I have had the good fortune to work closely with an industry that is full of wonderful people who really care about what they do and have always been generous with their time and expertise.
“These wonderful people work with amazing things called plants that we totally rely on for our very existence and which will, hopefully, sometime in the future, get us out of the mess we have made for ourselves by burning fossil fuels. I love plants so working with plants and great people has been my pleasure.
“Lastly, special thanks to those who have given me opportunities and support over many years. In particular the hundreds of people who have helped bring Araluen Botanic Park from an overgrown, derelict site to a garden that now brings joy to many thousands of people every year.”
All of HMAA extends warmest congratulations to John on this well-deserved honour. His passion, knowledge, and unwavering commitment to horticulture continues to inspire us all. Please join in celebrating his achievement and expressing our gratitude for his remarkable contributions.

Deryn Thorpe


Mary Jo Katter Medal of the Order of Australia

HMAA member, Mary Jo Katter, a quiet achiever, has been awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division) in the King’s Birthday Honours. As a landscape architect she has made an invaluable contribution to urban landscapes. When I followed on after her, in the role as the Queensland Coordinator of Australia’s Open Garden Scheme, she was an extraordinary mentor who continued to support the Scheme. Post AOGS we worked together producing videos for Our Australian Gardens. After years of lobbying, Mary Jo’s tireless effort saw the formation of the Friends of Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Sherwood Arboretum.  This was a major achievement as most Botanic Gardens in Australia had already been supported by Friends’ Organisations for decades. Mary Jo professionally guided the new committee through the governance required for its establishment and still produces informative videos for their website. For many years she consulted on the Lord Mayor’s Parks Advisory Committee and has assisted various community landscape projects pro bono. As a TV garden presenter her informative segments inspired Queensland gardeners.
I am aware of myriad occasions when she has, without any financial gain, designed landscapes, planned maintenance schedules, and volunteered as a consultant. No doubt there are many others of which I’m unaware.
Mary Jo Katter has made significant contributions to the landscaped environment without ever seeking fame or monetary reward. An OAM is a well-deserved recognition.

Kim Woods Rabbage

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