Den. Victorian Flare
Formation of the Ira Butler Committee
Early in 1974, a subcommittee of the Australian Native Orchid Society, consisting of Eric Gordon, John Stuart, Murray Corrigan and Phillip Spence was set up to stimulate and encourage the advancement of Australian Native Orchid Hybrids and so continue the work of Ira Butler. By the end of 1974 they set up the Ira Butler Trophy Committee. It consisted of seven elected members. A.B. Porter, W.T. Upton and Athol Bell from the Management Committee of the Orchid Society of NSW, with Eric Gordon, Phil Spence and Murray Corrigan from the Australian Native Orchid Society. The seventh member was John Stuart, an old friend of Ira Butler, the independent Chairman.
The Committee decided that trophies should be awarded to winners of the Australian Native Orchid Hybrid section of ANOS Shows and shows of State Orchid Societies. These orchids would then be eligible to be nominated for the Champion Australian Native Orchid Hybrid of the year Trophy. It took some years to organise the funding, making of the trophies and to circularise Orchid Societies. Finally in 1981 the first trophies were awarded and the Champion Australian Native Hybrid of the Year was Dendrobium Gloscester Sands, grown and owned by L. Jarvis from the ANOS Central Coast Group.
In 1985 it was decided to extend the competition for the Champion Native Orchid Hybrid of the Year to include those Orchids which had been awarded F.C.C., A.M., or H.C.C by a State Orchid Society, as some excellent orchids may not be in flower for shows. The first awarded plant to become Champion was N Grundon's Dendrobium Hilda Poxon 'Winfred Mary', which was equal first with W.T. and J. Upton's Dendrobium Elegant Heart 'Warringah' in 1988.
Over the years we have seen a great improvement in Native Hybrids, Dendrobium and Sarcochilus genera in particular, with an increasing number of hybridists. Many remakes of older hybrids using better parents are increasing the size and improving the colour of Native Hybrids. The Ira Butler Trophy Committee feels that they have contributed to this development and have thus continued the work done by Ira Butler.
Thanks to Ruth Rudkin and the ANOS Newcastle Group for this information.
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