About Us

Heritage Roses in Australia (HRiA) was formed in 1979 and is a fellowship of those who aim to advance the preservation, cultivation, distribution and study of old garden roses, roses no longer in general commercial cultivation, roses of historical importance, species roses and their hybrids.

We maintain contact through our Journal which is published four times a year. The Journal is also received by members of similar societies throughout the world and an electronic copy is sent to the National Library in Canberra.

HRiA holds a conference every two years. The conference and national executive is held on a rotational basis between states.


Miriam Wilkins and Carlo Cato enlisted Trevor Nottle in South Australia as a foundation member when they formed Heritage Roses (USA), and from there Trevor developed an informal network of Australians who were collecting old roses and seeking answers to questions about them. In 1978 Deane Ross helped with his old rose return-buyers list. A letter was eventually mailed to some 200 people, including a few in New Zealand, South Africa and USA, regarding interest in forming a ‘loose, informal association.’

Among the first people to respond were Diana Morgan, Susan St Leon (now Irvine), Esmond Jones, Heather and Roy Rumsey, Rose Marsh, Pat Toolan, Tommy Garnett OAM, Barney Hutton, Neil Robertson, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, Nancy Steen (NZ) and Bill Grant (USA). Within a year (1979) HRiA had co-ordinators in all states except the NT and ACT.

The organization was formed to bring together people who love and collect old roses, the roses of antiquity and the survivors from Australian colonial gardens. There was also interest in finding and rescuing Australian-bred roses, for example those of Alister Clark, Frank Riethmuller and Mrs Fitzhardinge. The basic concept was to build informal, friendly networks for conservation of this part of our garden heritage; and by and large that starting point has remained the principal attraction for our members.