Vale Holly Kerr Forsyth

It is with great sorrow that we announce the death on August 14 of fellow gardener, author, photographer, writer and HMAA member, Dr Holly Kerr Forsyth. Holly died after a long illness aged 70.

She lived in Woollahra in Sydney and will be particularly well remembered by all HMAA members in New South Wales as was a regular at HMAA and media functions.

Despite ongoing health issues, Holly continued to write her gardening column for The Weekend Australian until 2016. She also maintained her newsletter until 2021 and continued to promote her books.

Her books include The Constant Gardener (2007), Country Gardens, Country Hospitality (2013), a celebration of the spirit and strength of Australian country people: their history, their gardens and of country hospitality. Her book, Remembered Gardens: eight women and their vision of an Australian Landscape (2006), is a social history as well as a history of gendered landscape in Australia. In 2019 she also wrote a novel, The Reluctant Spy.

Her gardening books have won two Horticultural Media Awards.

Holly has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland, is a graduate of the Ryde College of Horticulture, Sydney, and has a PhD in History from the University of New South Wales.

After her diagnosis, Holly wrote about her illness and survival in a memoir she titled ‘It’s NOT all Wine & Roses: a journey to survival’.

In the memoir she wrote: “In early 2012, I was diagnosed with five malignant tumours. Even I realised that the odds in favour of survival were not great.” She was given less than one per cent chance of survival. In writing the memoir she said she wanted to share her story with others to encourage positivity in adversity.

Holly is survived by her husband Ross Walter Dymock Forsyth. She was the mother of Olivia, William (d. February, 1986), Camilla and Angus, and Tom. Her funeral will be held at St Jude’s Anglican Church, Randwick on Friday, August 25, 2023 at 10.30am. Burial will be held at St Jude’s graveyard, followed by morning tea in the church hall.

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