AOC Conference & Show
In a little under a week, after four years of planning, the 19th Australian Orchid Council Conference & Show was over. We (the Conference Committee) hope all who attended enjoyed the lectures, the tours, the orchid displays and show, the marketplace and vendor choice, the venue and the hospitality as much as we enjoyed staging this significant national event on behalf of the AOC.
We were delighted to have been able to secure the Crown Perth (formally Burswood) Entertainment Centre as the location for this prestige's event in which we could stage all aspects of the conference & show under one roof. This was made possible by a significant grant from Lotterywest (WA Government). The closing dinner was held at the Western Australian Golf Club to provide an additional experience and offer a different aspect of Perth.
We are extremely grateful for all the positive feed back received since the event and would like to take this opportunity to formally thank everyone who made the event so successful through their wonderful support. All of our sponsors and supporters, the vendors, the speakers, the judges, orchid clubs & societies (including one from New Zealand) all of who staged magnificent displays and in particular the commercial growers who provided substantial structures and displays, the many visitors and of course all the terrific volunteers who gave their time to ensure things flowed smoothly throughout the week of the event.
It seems all the tours, which were fully subscribed, were very well received. The one day local sites visit to see native orchids in situ, the home visits including lunch at Ezi Gro Orchids and the five day south west tour under the leadership of Andrew Brown have all been highly praised and we thank everyone involved in making these possible.
One of the biggest challenges which faced the Conference Committee was the timing and logistics of staging and judging of the orchids, and setting up the marketplace and displays in time for opening night.
Due to the overwhelming registration of judges, from abroad and from within Australia, it was agreed, in conjunction with the WA Judges Panel, that the room initially selected for judging would not be large enough to accommodate such a large group of judges (over 110). This necessitated moving the judging into the marketplace hall and delaying the set up of the vendors stalls until the next morning. Needless to say, with assistance from the staff at Crown Perth and the vendors themselves, all went to plan and everyone was set up and ready to trade (some even managed to start earlier!) by that evening ahead of the Opening Ceremony.
We are extremely grateful to all the judges who registered, and for their support and participation, and in particular, the WA Judging Panel for their contribution.
Congratulations to Kevin Butler (Ezi Gro Orchids) on winning Grand Champion Orchid of the Show, with Lycaste Abou Sunset "Abou" who won a $5,000.00 package including a return trip and accommodation package to the Taiwan International Orchid Show 2013 provided by ATM Travel (Brisbane) plus prize monies (AOC & WAROO)
The biggest challenge in staging such an event, particularly when a large number of international vendors agreed to participate, was the import of orchids (principally flasks) into Australia. This was not just an issue unique for Perth, but is of course subject to uniform national standards and presents a special set of challenges for staging international events such as this. The control of plant imports is governed by Federal Laws administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
The Conference Committee fortunate in having a team member familiar with such matters went about ensuring all vendors knew the criteria and costs associated with plant entry and although this information was disseminated widely a number of flasks were refused entry. Needless to say most (some 5,000 flasks) were allowed entry and local growers were able to avail themselves of desirable and hard to obtain new orchids, both hybrids and species.
While there is no doubt that international vendors add significant value to a national conference/show, the challenges in bringing orchid plants (flasks) into Australia make it imperative that the AOC and various orchid state bodies maintain a close working relationship with DAFF and associated state agencies.
With such large numbers of orchids available and with many attractions for the public to see the next challenge was ensuring the public knew about the event and came along to see this orchid showcase. This was achieved through three major media sources, television, radio and newspaper advertising, and although the coverage was extensive and overall numbers through the door were in line with expectations, we were nevertheless a little disappointed, particularly with the attendance numbers on the Saturday.
Importantly for local clubs, a key objective (of hosting the event in Perth) was clearly met with a significant increase of interest in growing orchids and many new members signed up both during the conference and since.
The local clubs were the major contributors of the event. They not only provided volunteers for their various club commitments and assistance at their displays, but also for the conference/show in being available to help visitors with general questions, taking entry tickets, demonstrating the potting of orchids and all manner of different tasks . We are extremely grateful for their tireless contribution over the week and for constructing some excellent displays.
I would also like to acknowledge the wonderful contribution made by the small but dedicated Conference Committee over the past four years and say what a pleasure it has been to work with such a terrific group of people who worked tirelessly as a team and ensured the 19th AOC Conference & Show succeeded.
On behalf of the Conference Committee I thank everyone, who attended in what ever capacity, for your wonderful support and participation at the 19th AOC Conference & Show Perth 2012. Thank you.
We wish the Darwin AOC committee great success in 2015
Updated Feb 2013
19th Australian Orchid Conference
* Authorized by the Australian Orchid Council
* Hosted by the Northern Districts Orchid Society (Inc)
* Held under the auspices of the Western Australian Regional Orchid Organisation