Professor Kingsley Dixon

Professor Kingsley Dixon

Kingsley Dixon is the 16th Australasian Botanic Guides Conference keynote speaker on Tuesday, September 17, addressing the topic Beauty rich and rare in the southwest biodiversity hotspot.

Kingsley was named WA Scientist of the Year in 2016 in recognition of his work in conservation science, restoration ecology and plant science. His collaborative work on the identification of the specific chemical in smoke that causes seeds to germinate finally explained why the Australian bush blooms after fire.

Kingsley  was foundation director of the world-recognised research facility at Kings Park and Botanic Garden – the Biodiversity Conservation Centre.

He has worked closely with the WA mining industry to promote excellence through science in mine site rehabilitation and is a full-time research academic at Curtin University.

Grady Brand, Digby Growns and Luke Sweedman

Three of Kings Park’s most respected professionals will reveal some of the secrets behind creating and maintaining WA’s magnificent Botanic Garden in their keynote address, From bush to botanic garden on Tuesday, September 17.

Grady Brand  Photo: Dave Blumer

Grady Brand has worked at Kings Park for 41 years and is the park’s Senior Curator. He has a wealth of knowledge about Western Australian flora and natural landscapes and is passionate about the environment and its conservation. Grady has played a key role in the planning, implementation and management of Kings Park and the Western Australian Botanic Garden. The spectacular Eucalyptus brandiana, discovered in 2006 growing in the Fitzgerald River National Park on WA’s south coast, is named after him.

Digby Growns  Photo: Dave Blumer

Digby Growns is the Senior Plant Breeder at Kings Park and Botanic Garden, as well as a talented wood turner and didgeridoo player. He has worked for many years on the development of Australian native plants for horticulture and is responsible for the release of more than 50 new varieties including the Grevillea RSL Spirit of Anzac. He is leading research into new technology developments in plant tissue culture, biotechnology and plant breeding.

Luke Sweedman

Luke Sweedman has been Kings Park’s official seed collector since 1990 and is the Curator of the WA Seed Centre. He spends several months a year camping in the bush collecting seeds – and writing poetry. Luke has made 9341 collections from the wild for Kings Park and contributed over 1500 species to the Millennium Seedbank in Britain, the second highest number from any collector in the world. He is co-editor of Australian Seeds, A guide to their Collection, Identification and Biology (2006). Eucalyptus sweedmaniana, discovered by Professor Stephen Hopper on WA’s south coast in 2006, is named after him.

Professor Stephen Hopper

Professor Stephen Hopper Photo: Matthew Galligan

Stephen Hopper will deliver the keynote address Walking together: the fusion of Aboriginal experience with modern science on Thursday, September 19.

The former Chief Executive and Chief Scientist of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew – the first non-British person in the job – is not only a passionate conservation biologist, but also had a key role in this year’s acclaimed Perth Festival performance Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak, which transformed Kings Park with a spectacular sound and light show.

A graduate of the University of WA, with a PhD on Kangaroo Paw speciation, Stephen was the Chief Executive of Kings Park and Botanic Garden from 1992 to 2004. Between 2004 and 2006, when he took up his appointment in the UK, he was the foundation professor of Plant Conservation Biology at UWA.

Key research includes OCBILS (old climatically buffered infertile landscapes) and collaborative cross-cultural knowledge systems of biodiversity.

He is currently Winthrop Professor of Biodiversity at the University of WA, based at Albany’s Centre of Excellence in Natural Resources Management.

Ryan Zaknich

Ryan Zaknich

Ryan takes a look at guiding Through visitors eyes as a keynote speaker on Thursday, September 19.

His award-winning tourism business Two Feet and a Heartbeat walking tours are designed to be conversational, informative, engaging and entertaining.

Ryan brings an exciting new dimension to the term ‘guided walk’. He believes in making sure that his walks are interactive and memorable so visitors never regret investing their precious holiday time with him.

Since 2007 Ryan has been a heritage and cultural tourism consultant and was chairman of the Fremantle Tourism Association from 2013 to 2015. He lectured in tourism at Challenger TAFE and helped develop their tourism curriculum.

As co-founder of Two Feet and a Heartbeat, which won the gold medal for Excellence in Food Tourism in the 2018 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, Ryan trains a small team of tour guides offering walks in Perth and Fremantle.

The numbers next to the following speakers refer to optional program activities

Faye Arcaro  Connecting with nature  #7

Faye is a WA-based horticulturist who co-hosts Let’s talk gardening on Curtin 100.1FM. She was 2007 Gardener of the Year and regularly hosts open days at her 1.6ha property near Perth. One of her passions is attracting insects to improve biodiversity.

Alan Barrett  Looking ahead  #7

Alan is Executive Director of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, an organisation with more than 200 staff – permanent, part-time, casual and contract. Alan says ‘the future is now’ and that Kings Park punches far above its weight given the resources it has to work with.

Bernice Barry Georgiana Molloy – the Mind that Shines  #4

After 25 years in the world of education Bernice found a perfect balance of peace and challenge creating a native garden in the bush near Margaret River. She spent 10 years researching and writing her acclaimed biography of colonial botanist Georgiana Molloy.

Patrick Courtney  Gija Jumulu – the boab story  #1

Patrick is the Manager of Horticultural Development at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority. He developed and managed the relocation of Kings Park’s 750-year-old boab Gija Jumulu in 2008. He now works on a wide range of horticultural projects in Kings Park and the Middle East.

Bob Dixon  Growing WA native plants  #3

Bob worked at Kings Park for 35 years and specialised in managing natural ecosystems and environmental weed control as well as growing and trans-locating rare flora back into degraded ecosystems. He started the volunteer group, Kings Park Master Gardeners.

Steve Easton   Bush Regeneration after fire  #1 and #4

Steve has worked for the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority since 1997 while completing a Bachelor of Environmental Science at the University of WA. Since 2010 he has been bushland manager of Kings Park and Bold Park implementing restoration and conservation programs. 

Roz Hart  Don’t forget fungi  #1

Roz is a Kings Park Guide and has been fascinated by fungi for as long as she can remember. She has a Masters in Microbiology and is National President of Fungimap Australia, a group which aims to raise awareness, enjoyment and hence the conservation of Australian fungi.

Kirsten Holmes  Looking ahead  #7

Professor Kirsten Holmes is a widely acclaimed and internationally recognised expert in the study of volunteering. She works at Curtin University and has taught at universities in Australia and the United Kingdom, conducting research projects in 15 countries.

Doug Hooton Training and mentoring  #7

Doug is a Kings Park Guide and has qualifications in geology and computer science. He served on the Guides training committee and has wide experience in mentoring. Doug is currently chairing a committee to review the encouraging and mentoring process for Guides.

Magda Joubert   Botanical drawing workshop  #5 and #6

Magda is a Kings Park Guide and a professional visual artist with 20 years’ experience teaching painting and drawing at tertiary level. She is inspired by the bold organic shapes of WA wildflowers, seedpods and leaves in her colourful semi-abstract expressive paintings.

Jacqui Kennedy Training and mentoring  #7

Jacqui Kennedy is Manager Visitor Services and Community Engagement at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority. She has been involved in staff and volunteer training and development for more than 20 years and is Director of the acclaimed Kings Park Festival.

Bill Kerns  Training and mentoring  #7

After 40 years growing his own small business in regional and metropolitan WA, Bill has a clear insight into the importance of team building and believes that training is just one component. Bill is a Kings Park Guide and has headed the Guides training team since 2017.

Byron Lamont   Remarkable adaptations of Australian flora  #4

Professor Byron Lamont had a long career at Curtin University and the University of WA. He is an expert on adaptations of Mediterranean floras to fire, poor soils, summer drought, herbivores and pollinators. He is particularly interested in the evolution of banksias.

Jane Li  Botanical drawing workshop  #5 and #6

Jane is a Kings Park Guide and studied fine art in China before moving to Perth in 2013. In 2018 the City of Kwinana hosted her first exhibition of watercolour botanical art. Her accurate botanical drawings have been of assistance to Kings Park Guides.

Ben Miller  Bush regeneration after fire  #1 and #4

Dr Ben Miller is one of Kings Park’s senior research scientists and for the last 15 years has pursued his interest in ecosystem ecology. His projects include the effect of fire in banksia woodland, tree decline, seed dispersal and the impact of management on fire risk in urban bushland.

Liz Stirling   Connecting with nature  #7

Dr Liz Stirling is a Kings Park Guide and a psychiatrist with special training in psychiatry of old age. She arrived in Australia from England 30 years ago and became fascinated with the Australian landscape and flora. She will talk about how nature impacts our health and well being.

Jason Stevens  Looking ahead  #7

Dr Jason Stevens is the Program Leader of Kings Park Science, coordinating research staff and projects in collaboration with other research institutions. Current projects include innovative seed technologies as well as banksia woodland and mine site restoration. 

Lucienne Tessens  Guiding for different personality types  #1

Lucienne is Senior Organisational Development Adviser at Edith Cowan University where she designs, coordinates and delivers workshops to meet the needs of university staff and alumni. She also presents programs on leadership, mentoring and work-life balance.

Jeremy Thomas Tree management  #1 and #4

Jeremy is Kings Park’s Arboriculture Curator and has led the arboriculture team since 2005. As the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship in 2009 he travelled to the United Kingdom, Singapore and the US  to investigate the latest techniques in tree management and quantitative risk assessment.

Marissa Verma   Aboriginal bush tucker and culture  #2

Marissa will share her lifetime experience of Nyoongar culture and food, passed on to her by Elders. Her family-owned and operated Aboriginal business Bindi Bindi Dreaming offers cultural tour guiding, didgeridoo and dance performances, plus catering with bush flavours.

Heather Waugh  Connecting with nature  #7

Heather is an environmental scientist who fell in love with WA native plants as a teenager and has since transformed every garden she has lived in. She writes children’s books and has been a Volunteer Master Gardener for six years.

Claire Webb   Guiding for different personality types  #1

Claire worked as a staff development officer at the University of WA for 26 years where she facilitated a range of workshops on career development and mentoring. She helped develop the university’s award-winning Leadership Development for Women program.

Lyn Williamson   Connecting with nature  #7

Lyn is a Volunteer Master Gardener at Kings Park working in the garden advisory service, giving home gardeners advice on growing native plants. She helps in the plant development program and has assisted in field trips to plant rare and endangered species.