In memory of
LEO GILES FAOC
Leo Giles passed away on the 27th of May 1974. He was one of the great personalities of the Orchid World, a friendly and generous man and a kind friend to all who met him.
During his life he was awarded many honours, amongst them was being one of the first to be awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Australian Orchid Council (FAOC), in recognition of his promotion of the Australian Orchid Council (AOC).
For his outstanding services to the Orchid Society of New South Wales, he was awarded the Society’s Gold Medal and Life Membership. He served for many years as a long term member of committee and also served a term as Vice-President.
In 1946 as a senior AOC Judge he became involved in the training of future orchid judges. When the AOC proposed uniform judging criteria across the Australian states Leo travelled extensively to all parts of Australia smoothing the way for acceptance of this important initiative.
A great supporter and member of the Eastwood Orchid Circle, he served on the Committee for many years, including serving a term as President (1955-1956). He was honoured with Life Membership and became a Patron of this group.
A member of the sixth World Orchid Conference Working Committee, he worked tirelessly as the Chairman of the Publicity Committee. In 1967 he was the Public Relations Officer and Chairman, dealing successfully with quarantine matters which in no small measure ensured the success of this great Conference.
Leo was the founder of the Wondabah Orchid Nursery and a hybridiser of world renown. In 1964, Leo’s hybrid Cymbidium Wallara ‘Wondabah’ AM/AOC was awarded the first AOC quality award under the quality awards program of the AOC.
The countless medals and awards granted to this Nursery is a fine tribute to Leo’s efforts. Breeding commenced in 1950, success was achieved with early flowering greens (cymbidiums), mainly diploid types, eminently suitable for the flower export trade. This led to an on-going program to provide quality orchids across a number of genera.
I believe Leo was a member of the International Orchid Commission on Botanical Classification, Nomenclature and Registration, commonly called the ‘Cultivation Code’. Leo was present at the meeting in the USA in 1966.
Leo was also a keen fisherman who spent his leisure hours at Conjola on the south coast of NSW. While there he became involved with the Orchid Societies in the vicinity. His efforts were much appreciated.
Honest and straight forward in all his dealings, his word was his bond. One could always count on Leo to support any charitable event, giving his time and skill to raise money. He was extremely knowledgeable in all matters of orchid culture and hybridisation with which so much of his life was spent and was happy to impart his knowledge.
Thank you Leo.
Tribute by: Frank Slattery
A donation has been made to the Australian Orchid Trust Fund by Mrs Phyllis Giles.
A donation has been made to the Australian Orchid Trust Fund by Wondabah Orchid Nursery, Carlingford, NSW.