INTRODUCTION OF BROMELIADS into AUSTRALIA
There are no records of the early introduction of bromeliads into Australia. Some have been grown here for a long time such as Billbergia nutans (commonly known as “Queen’s Tears) & Billbergia pyramidalis concolor. Australian botanic gardens have had collections including Aechmea miniata var. discolor, Aechmea fasciata, Billbergia vittata, Billbergia zebrina, Aechmea weilbachii, Tillandsia lindenii & Nidularium innocentii.
Major collectors of note have been Charles Hodgson of Melbourne who began collecting in the 1930s, Charles Webb of Sydney who began collecting after WW11 & Bill Morris of Warners Bay, NSW who collected in the late 1950s & early 1960s.
In 1963 a group of about 35 people formed an Australian Society & the numbers since then have rapidly increased. From this time on, numerous people have imported bromeliads plus local hybridists have added to the variety available & the number of bromeliads grown in Australia has rapidly increased.
HYBRIDISATION in AUSTRALIA
The foremost hybridiser in terms of quantity & quality in Australia has been Grace Goode (OAM) of QLD. Starting around 1970, she has made around 600 crosses, mainly in Neoregelia, Cryptanthus & Billbergia.
Since the 1950s Bill Morris had been developing & growing hybrids (Billbergias & Mini Neoregelias).
Two other hybridists worthy of particular mention are Clyde Wasley & Olwen Ferris.
Other Australian hybridists of note include Margaret Paterson, Bob Larnach, John Buchanan & Jack Koning.