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George Hermon Slade AM

14 July 1910 - 26 June 2002

Hermon enjoyed a life-long fascination with the structure of things. The salt water washing over the rocks at Manly Cove in front of the family home ignited his early childhood interest in finding and exploring the many exciting creatures and plants which found their natural home and habitat there. The biological observations led to chemical interest and during his early commercial post university career he developed rapidly with his brother Russell an industrial chemical company called Polymer Corporation, which was actively engaged in research and development, with industrial plants in Australia and New Zealand.

The beauty and structure of orchids held special fascination for Hermon and he found time to assist in the establishment of various voluntary Australian orchid societies and publications, as editor and contributor. He assisted in the early establishment of a number of Biological Foundations in Australia and the South-West Pacific. One had a specific aim of assisting new varieties of food production whilst others aimed at preserving bio-diversity whilst enhancing scientific knowledge so as to provide benefit for the well being of the local communities, the region and the international community.

Following retirement, Hermon moved to Papua New Guinea and then to Vanuatu, where he was able to continue his special interest and hobby in collecting and growing orchids. Whilst there, he assisted in the undertaking of various scientifically important field trips and subsequent publications undertaken by international researchers.

Hermon found success in life by following his guiding principle: “If there is a way better than another, it is the way of nature.”

A symbiotic relationship with science and nature guided Hermon’s philanthropic philosophy leading to his generous benefaction of this Foundation, which he established in order to provide support for the harmony of mankind with the Earth through the study and application of the natural sciences.

Hermon was awarded the Veitch Gold Medal for contributions to Horticulture from The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, appointed a Distinguished Fellow of the University of Sydney and received the award approved by the Queen as a Member of the Order of Australia.

 

George Hermon Slade AM

 

Dendrobium sladei, an orchid discovered by Hermon Slade in Vanuatu (Photo courtesy W H Bandisch)

 


William Russell Slade


Francis Royden McKillop

17 October 1917 - 2 July 1979

AUSTRALIAN-BORN orchid collector and philanthropist Francis Royden "Kip" McKillop thought differently from his contemporaries and looked at his field with innovative eyes.

He was fired by an original vision for tropical plants. He urged latter-day European breeders of New World staple crops such as potato to develop new varieties in their natural tropical climates because the rotation and yield potential was greater there.

He took popular tropical fruits from South-East Asia such as mangoes, rambutan and durian and bred better varieties on his plantations in New Guinea, resulting in a stronger import market later in Australia. With his wife Mary, Kip established the largest private orchid collection in the southern hemisphere, numbering about 36,000 plants.

And he collaborated in the founding of the "New Guinea Biological Foundation", which later became the "Australia & Pacific Science Foundation". His dream combined with the financial muscle of investor and philanthropist Stanley Smith, when they met at the World Orchid Conference in Singapore in 1962.

The duo became a quartet shortly afterwards when brothers George Hermon and William Russell Slade, who shared the same interests and vision, joined McKillop and Smith.

Kip had a guiding principle, not uncommon in his generation: That the quality of the goal is paramount and that is what should inspire people; by whom and how it is achieved is irrelevant. Kip McKillop was born into a third-generation grazier family that pioneered the central west of NSW.

He served in New Guinea during World War ll and this contact with the tropics inspired him to buy into the plantation industry there. From his Arawa plantation in Bougainville he revolutionised the production of premium quality cocoa and copra in that country. Kip, Mary, and three of their children moved to Brazil in 1974 where he continued his pioneering work in tropical agriculture.

 

 

 

Francis Royden "Kip" McKillop