Log in


Company overview

The Australian Plants Society NSW Ltd (ABN 87 002 680 408) is a company limited by guarantee. It is a non-profit, independent, incorporated community organisation registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.

ACNC Certification of APS NSW as a Registered Charity

Our objectives are to:

  • Promote the appreciation, study and participation in growing, conserving and propagating Australian native plants and their habitats.
  • Encourage the use of Australian native plants in home gardens and public places.
  • Interest nursery owners and managers to propagate and sell Australian native plants to the public.
  • Increase and disseminate general knowledge of Australian native plants.

Our Memorandum and Articles of Association are located here: 

APS NSW Memorandum and Articles of Association, 18 April 2018

Board members and Officers

The Australian Plants Society NSW Ltd is overseen by a board comprising appointed members and delegates of our local District Groups.

Our board:

John Desmond, President, board member, delegate Southern Highlands John is a delegate for Southern Highlands Group and has a keen interest in native plants as a key element of a functioning biodiverse environment. As well as gardening with native plants his interests include bushwalking and birdwatching. His career encompassed the public sector, finance industry, and consulting to a range of entities at various levels of government. Professional qualifications are B.Com., B.A., Grad.Dip., M.Env.Law., FCPA.Appointed 6 December. 

John Aitken, Vice President, board member

John has had a passion for Australian native plants for over 40 years. He has held positions as a science teacher, virologist, and barrister. He is former president of Sutherland Group, a director of APS NSW since February 2007, and has served as a delegate to ANPSA. Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Microbiology, Graduate Dip Education, Dip. Law (SAB/BAB)

Andrew Knop, board

Andrew is an APS member on Wiradjuri country in central western NSW. Andrew and wife Jennifer are committed to the conservation of native flora, fauna and ecosystems and the restoration of sustainable, resilient landscapes. They have two registered conservation properties protecting a variety of threatened species and woodland communities. Threat abatement management combined with the restoration of diversity, habitat and connectivity form the foundation of their regeneration work. Andrew has 30 years experience in seed collection, propagation and revegetation and worked for 15 years in the Central West Catchment Management Authority. Appointed 16 August 2022.

Harry Loots, board member, Treasurer and delegate for Northern Beaches Group Harry has been a member of the Australian Plants Society since 1991 when he joined Harbourside Group where he was group president from 1994 until its closure in 2010 and its newsletter editor from 2006 to 2009.  Since 2011, he has been member and APS (NSW) delegate for the Northern Beaches Group. He has been a member of the Special Projects Committee (Bequest Fund) from 2000. Harry has also been an Australian plant grower for the last 28 years with an award winning endemic plant garden in North Sydney.  He has been an active bushwalker for most of his life. Harry was vice president of APS NSW between 2009 and 2013 and had a day job as a High School teacher.

Tony Maxwell, board member, delegate for Parramatta and Hills Group

Tony is a retired paint chemist and a member of Parramatta and Hills Group since 2006, holding roles as vice president and president. He became Parramatta and Hills Group delegate to the Board in 2011. Tony’s interest is the distribution of native plants in southeast Australia.

Rhett Morson, board member, delegate for Newcastle

Rhett  has been a volunteer with environmental groups for many years. His background is business, with experience in finance and manufacturing. He has just built a very eco-friendly house and the new garden is 100% native. He is currently Chair of Eighteen04 (; a not for profit, which helps startups in renewable energy and other cleantech/sustainability. We are delighted to have him join the board and trust he will bring a range of new skills and experience.
Merle K Thompson OAM, board member, Membership officer Merle has held office at local, state and national level for over 40 years. Her previous roles in the Australian Plants Society include federal secretary 1993-1995, federal treasurer 2007–2009, property officer and program convenor for APS NSW, secretary, president and newsletter editor of Blue Mountains Group, NSW delegate to ANPSA conferences and the ANPSA council, membership of conference planning committees for 1993, 2002 and 2007 and 2022 conferences and tour manager for the 2007 and 2022 conferences. Her professional career involved roles in counselling, administration and policy within the NSW public sector.  In January 2019 she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for “services to the community through a range of organisations”, principally the Australian Plants Society, Polio NSW and the Australian Federation of Graduate Women.

 Additional roles



John Aitken and Merle Thompson Australian Plants

See details above

Dan Clarke, Conservation Officer

Dan is a fully qualified botanist who works as a botanical consultant through the Ecological Consultants Association of NSW. Dan undertakes flora surveys, providing information for vegetation mapping and type-deteminations, and also monitors and searches for threatened flora species. Dan has been involved in several NSW Government Saving our Species Projects since 2015. More info on Dan here

Verna Aslin, Study Group Liaison Officer

Verna Aslin had a challenging introduction to growing native plants in the frosty environment of Uralla, NSW in the 1970s. At the University of New England she was able to study environmental subjects, and also met native plant enthusiasts living in the Armidale area, who had a life-changing influence. She has subsequently established gardens in other parts of NSW, and currently lives in Cobargo, NSW where recent bushfire devastation has provided another perspective. Her main gap in native plant knowledge is lack of familiarity with the mature size of many plants, due to frequently moving on to new locations!
Lindy Monson, Ralph Cartwright, website manager, social media See above
Glenda Browne, Office support Glenda Browne was an APS member in Sydney some decades ago and rejoined as a member of Blue Mountains Group in 2017. She worked first as a biotechnologist and then as a librarian, also fitting in freelance indexing work from home. Indexing of books, journals and websites is now her main career. Glenda has been involved with the ANZSI indexing society in many roles, and is an occasional volunteer with the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group, Australian Greens and Pyjama Angels (reading with children in foster care). She lives with her husband and daughter in the Blue Mountains, and has a son in Canberra. Her garden is partly native and mostly in need of care.
 Jeff Howes, plant profile writer

Jeff is making a major contribution to the Society, working with Dan Clarke, collecting and collating information, about the growing aspects of many species of the Sydney Basin and frequently grown garden species. Developed as a plant profile, they are added to the website, after being checked by Dan Clarke. Jeff's interest in native plants came about many years ago, when he was looking at publications in a news agency and spotted an attractive yellow flower on the cover of an Australian Plants publication, Vol 8 , No 68, dated Sept 1976. From there he joined APS and still finds Senna artemisoides attractive. Jeff has engineering, QA and Training and Development qualifications and worked in design and installation of navy ships and electricity generation. More here

 Jan Williamson, board minutes

Jan has been a member of North Shore Group for 14 years and for many of those, held the role of minutes secretary and editor of the monthly newsletter, Blandfordia. Jan's interest in native plants started in her youth when exploring the local bush at East Lindfield and continued for many years. She joined APS when she was keen to develop a native garden to encourage native animals and birds to their home, plus she liked the wonderful diversity of Australian plants. See more here

Margaret Gaul, Bequest Fund Committee Margaret is a longstanding member of Blue Mountains Group and has grown Australian native plants for over 50 years. She has an academic background and has extensive management and consultancy experience as well as serving on boards and committees of not-for-profit organisations.

Australian Plants Society NSW Representatives to external bodies:

ANPSA Council

John Aitken

Australian Flora Foundation

Ian Cox

Burrendong Arboretum

 Lyn Burgett
Nature Conservation Council Margery Street

Annual Reports


APS NSW Confidentiality and Privacy Code of Conduct

Insurance - message to members

Members, insurance documents can be found in the Members only section of the website. Go to the Home page, and log in. Then click on the three parallel lines on the right hand side at the top. This will take you to the insurance section, where you can download the various documents. 

P.O. Box 263
Cremorne  Junction NSW 2090

Copyright © 2023 The Australian Plants Society - NSW. All Rights Reserved  •  Site by

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software