The Manly Warringah Orchid Society was formed in 1971 by the amalgamation of two orchid societies located in the Manly and Northern Beaches area of Sydney, Australia.


Parent societies

In 1948, the “Manly Orchid Circle” was founded, later named “Manly Orchid Society”. In 1968 it was renamed again to “Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society (M & NBOS). They met in the Manly Town Hall and latterly at the North Steyne Surf Club, then from January 1968 in the Bregman Hall, St David’s Presbyterian Church, West Howard St., Dee Why.

In 1952 the “Warringah Orchid Society” was founded after breaking away from Manly Orchid Circle. They met in the Church of England Church Hall, Seaforth and latterly in the Manly Vale Civic Centre, Cnr. Innes Road and Condamine Street, Manly Vale.


Formation of Manly Warringah Orchid Society

2nd February 1971

Warringah Orchid Society invited, as guests, to the monthly meeting of the M & NBOS at Dee Why.

During the course of this meeting, Wal Upton, President of M & NBOS, suggested to Doug Ellis, the President of the Warringah Orchid Society, that it would be a good idea to amalgamate the two societies as the attendance at the monthly meetings of both of the societies was not very large. Doug Ellis put the suggestion to his next committee meeting.

16th February 1971

Wal Upton put it to his committee meeting. A sub-Committee was arranged.

5th March 1971

A meeting of the Sub-Committee to consider amalgamation was held between 8pm to 10pm at the home of Wal and Jill Upton at Elanora Heights. The representatives were:

  • M & NBOS: Wal Upton (President in the chair), Bob Barrack and Barney Greer.
  • Warringah OS: Doug Ellis (President), Mrs. Joan Petith, Dr Bill Baker.

All aspects of amalgamation were discussed and it was unanimously agreed to proceed with the proposed amalgamation.

16th March 1971

Reported on the amalgamation to the Committee of the Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society.

6th April 1971

The following Notice of Motion was read to the monthly meeting of the to Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society. To be put to the next monthly meeting:

“That the Warringah Orchid Society and the Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society be amalgamated to form a new society to be called the Manly Warringah Orchid Society. Subsequently the Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society be disbanded and the committee be authorised to wind up the affairs of the Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society.”

“A formation meeting of the Manly Warringah Orchid Society will be held, on a date to be advised, for the adoption in principle of a draft constitution, and the election of officers. The meeting will be initially under the guidance of an independent referee.”

15th April 1971

Doug Ellis, President read A similar Notice of Motion to the Warringah Orchid Society, at its monthly meeting.

4th May 1971

Motion of Amalgamation put to Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society at its monthly meeting. Agreed unanimously.

20th May 1971

Motion of Amalgamation put to Warringah Orchid Society at its monthly meeting. Agreed unanimously.

1st June 1971

Last monthly meeting of Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society held at The Bregman Hall, St David’s Presbyterian Church, West Howard Street, Dee Why.

10 June 1971

Inaugural meeting of the Manly Warringah Orchid Society at the Narraweena Community Hall, Oceana Street, Narraweena, at 8pm.

Under the Chairmanship of Jack Evans, the Conservation Chairman for the Australian Orchid Council, and a previous member of the to Manly and Northern Beaches Orchid Society. The inaugural meeting was a huge success with 60 members from the two parent societies attending, and 9 apologies from members who were unable to attend.

Election of Office Bearers and Committee was carried out under the eyes of two independent scrutineers, namely Bill Smoothy, President of the Australian Orchid Council, and Mrs. Val Evans, Secretary of the Australian Orchid Council.

  • Patron: G. Herman Slade
  • President: Wal Upton
  • Vice-Presidents: Barney Greer, Doug Ellis
  • Honorary Secretary: Bob Barrack
  • Honorary Treasurer: Ernie Moss
  • Publicity Officer: Win Neilsen
  • Host: Rex Petith
  • Hostess: Gwen Olsen
  • Librarian: John Wareham
  • Auditor: John Oswald
  • Committee: John Wareham Rex Petith
  • Ned Devine Daph Wheeler
  • Geoff Fulcher Gwen Trevitt
  • Charlie Taylor Norm Johnson

The draft constitution was unanimously accepted.

16th June 1971

First Committee Meeting of the Manly Warringah Orchid Society met at 8pm at the home of the President at 71 Wesley Street, Elanora Heights.

17th June 1971

Last monthly meeting of Warringah Orchid Society held at Manly Vale Civic Centre, Manly Vale.

20th June 1971

The Manly Warringah Orchid Society exhibit at the Orchid Society of N.S.W. Winter Show at Westfield Plaza, Hornsby was awarded 11th place in “Best Affiliated Societies Exhibit”. The theme of the displays was “Orchids In Space”. Our prize was $35.00.

22nd July 1971

First regular meeting of the ManlyWarringah Orchid Society held at the Narraweena Community Centre, Oceana Street, Narraweena, commencing at 8pm. 58 members attended out of a total membership as at 1st June 1971 of 135 members.

The guest speaker was Werner Diesel who re-potted two Cattleyas.

The popular votes were:

  • Open Section: Barney Greer with Odontoglossum pulchellum
  • Novice Section: Tom Mullan with Cymbidium Balkis X Cym. Mem. W. Kavanagh.
  • Floral Art: Mrs Gladys Cave

27th August 1971

First Annual Orchid Exhibition, held at the Mona Vale to Memorial Hall, Pittwater Road, Mona Vale. Admission 20 cents.

29th August 1971

Champions:

  • Champion Cymbidium Cym. Lagoon O. Waabels
  • Res. Champion Cym. Cym. Malana J. Petith
  • Champion Aus. Native Den. kingianum Wal Upton

1st August 1972

First Meeting of the Ladies Committee, informal social group. Held at Stony Range Reserve, Pittwater Road Dee Why. Those present were:

  • Una Bingham Chair
  • Jill Upton Secretary
  • Mabel Casey
  • ‘Crawfie’ Crawford
  • Phyl Hall
  • Jean Kitchen
  • Joan Petith
  • Gwen Trevitt

Presidents of Manly Warringah Orchid Society

  • Wal Upton, 1971 – 1974,
  • Tom Henry, 1974 – 1977
  • Barney Greer, 1977 – 1978
  • Geoff Fulcher, 1978 – 1981
  • Rex Petith, 1981 – 1984
  • Rod Nelson, 1984 – 1987
  • Brian Gerhard, 1987 – 1990
  • Rex Petith, 1990 – 1991
  • Brian Gerhard, 1991 – 1993
  • Ron Gallagher, 1993 – 1996
  • Janette Fraser, 1996 – 1999
  • Janelle Lamont, 1999 – 2001
  • Bill Dobson, 2001 – 2002
  • Ralph Payne, 2002 – 2007
  • Cary Polis, 2007 – 2012
  • Guy Cantor, 2012 – 2015
  • Dylan Morrissey 2015 - present

Special thanks must go to Wal Upton for supplying this history of Manly Warringah Orchid Society (MWOS). Some of the original office bearers and committee members are still active members to this day. Wal Upton can be considered to be the “Founding Father” of Manly Warringah Society Inc. Apart from serving as the first President of MWOS, Wal has always been a strong supporter of the society and spent a period as Patron. Without Wal’s meticulous record keeping this history could have been lost. One can never really feel that they belong to any organisation unless they know the past. I feel sure that by Wal supplying this historic record, both current members and new members alike, will feel proud to be associated with the society.