Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand Inc.


BGANZ Council 2015 - 2017

Meet the Council - see below

Council representation for 2015 – 17 is as follows:








John Sandham

South Australia




John Arnott


VP Australia



David Sole

New Zealand 1

VP New Zealand



Peter Byron





Judy West

Capital City Garden 1




Dale Arvidsson

Capital City Garden 2




Paul Tracey





Bryan Harty

Northern Territory




Bede Nottingham

New Zealand 2




Lesley Hammersley

West Australia




Phil Parsons





Kate Heffernan





Greg Bourke

Co-opted 1





Immediate past President





Co-opted 2




Four Council members are due to leave in 2017. Council are actively looking to co-opt one members.

  • Greg Bourke, NSW, is confirmed as co-opted member

Meet the BGANZ Council


John Sandham, President



From leaving school in 1971 John took up a late apprenticeship at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1972 as an assistant gardener. Then gained the National Diploma of Horticulture at Askham Bryan College of Agriculture & Horticulture, York UK in 1975 before returning to RGE Kew to gain their 3 year Diploma in Horticulture by 1978.


Experience was further gained through running Julian Breams estate in Semely, Dorset 1979, Supervisor at the University of Durham Botanic Garden 1981 and Supervisor in the Glass and Propagation departments at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh 1989.


John started in the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide as the Curator of Conservatory Displays and Plant Propagation in 1989, then became Collection Development Officer in 1996 and then Manager of the Adelaide Botanic Garden in 2001 to 2003.


John now holds the role of the Living Collections Officer as well as a pivotal part of the Centre of Horticultural Excellence at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide. He is the South Australia BGANZ Representative and has served as the BGANZ Treasurer for the past three years. John commenced as BGANZ President 2015.

John is the Chair of BGANZ Professional Development Group.


John Arnott, VP (Australia)



Prior to commencing with the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne as Manager Horticulture in April 2008 John Arnott has worked in a number of significant public gardens in Victoria.


John worked for over 20 years at the Melbourne Zoo facilitating a number of roles from technical to managerial. During this period the Melbourne Zoo was transformed to be one of the world’s leading exponents of zoological horticulture.


He joined the team at the Geelong Botanic Gardens in 2000 and played a key role in the delivery of 21st Century Garden project which was the catalyst for the rejuvenation of the gardens.


In his current role John leads the team of horticulturists at the Royal Botanic Garden Cranbourne at a challenging and exciting time in the history of the gardens.


Since the inaugural BGANZ Congress, which was held in Geelong in 2003, John has played an active role is supporting the activities of BGANZ.

John, is BGANZ Vice-President (Australia). John is Chair of BGANZ Vic and BGANZ Early Career/Gender Working Group, and a member of BRON Professional Group.



Peter Byron - Treasurer




Peter has been the General Manager at the ANBG for the past four years and responsible for the operations of the Gardens in areas such as management of the living collection, major projects, visitor services and corporate services.


Peter has over 20 years experience in park and place management and has worked at Commonwealth, State and Local Government levels.


Prior to his current role, he was General Manager of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Director of parklands and visitor services for the National Capital Authority, Operations Manager for Sydney Olympic Park during the Sydney Olympics, managed a range of Western Sydney Olympic venues in the leadup to the Olympics, and started his career as a Ranger in the NSW NPWS.


 Peter, is BGANZ Treasurer, and he is a member of the BGANZ National Botanic Gardens Open Week Australia/New Zealand.


 Paul Tracey




Paul has been the Curator of the Wollongong Botanic Garden since 2010 and is responsible for managing the Garden and its living collection, three natural areas recognised as annexes to the Botanic Garden, the Greenplan plant production nursery, and the heritage listed Gleniffer Brae manor house and garden.


Paul has worked in Horticulture and Park Management roles at both Local and State Government agencies for the past 20 years.


Prior to his current role, Paul held management roles including Manager Horticultural Estate and Manager Visitor Programs at the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust in Sydney, and was responsible for the parklands tree maintenance and replacement program, heritage landscape and open space maintenance, environmental asset management, education and interpretation programs, ranger services, sports users and volunteers.


Paul has been the NSW representative on the BGANZ Council since 2013 and was the Organiser of the 7th BGANZ Congress, held October, 2015, at Wollongong Botanic Gardens.

Fresh from the success of a fantastic Congress, Paul is planning the first National Botanic Gardens Open Week across Australia and New Zealand.

phill Parsons



phill Parsons has a long time interest in nature. He started in professional Horticulture in his mid 30’s. phill has experienced many fields of the ornamental side. He joined The Tasmanian Arboretum Inc some 25 years ago and has been the President for the latter half of that period. He is enjoying making a landscape Arboretum from the skeleton he was elected to lead with extremely limited financial resources and great volunteers.

phill is a member of the BGANZ Early Career/Gender Working Group established in November 2015. 


Lesley Hammersley



Lesley Hammersley has worked for the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority in Perth Western Australia since December 2000, and has been the Director, Horticulture and Conservation since 2009.


Her current role includes responsibility for all on-ground activities in Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park, including all horticultural activities, bushland conservation and management, cultural heritage, asset and infrastructure management and the management of capital works projects and minor works developments.


Lesley has more than 30 years experience in horticultural and land management roles, including seven years as a Manager with the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, where she contributed to the development of the masterplan for the Australian Garden and began to build the team and lay the early foundations for the subsequent development of the site.


Other horticultural experience includes involvement in both production and retail plant nurseries and landscape development in private enterprise.


Lesley has a keen interest in the Australian flora and landscapes and much of her work has focused on the promotion and display of a wide range of Australian plants in both public and private gardens. She is strongly committed to the role of botanic gardens to advance community understanding and appreciation of the flora through research, horticulture, display and interpretation, and to promote the conservation of the world’s diverse and fragile landscapes as pressures on the environment increase over time.


Dale Arvidsson


Dale Arvidsson BGANZ President



Dale Arvidsson is the Capital City Gardens Representative on Council. In 2013 Dale was the first BGANZ President since the organisation’s inception from a regional botanic gardens, Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens.  Dale took over the helm of Brisbane Botanic Gardens as Curator in March 2015 and manages the botanic estate of the historic City Botanic Gardens and the 90 year old Sherwood Arboretum".


Dale’s diverse background includes tourism, conservation and land management, fine arts and underlying all of this – a love for horticulture, plants, gardens and nature. An active member of Mackay’s Garden Friends since 2003 and having spent a lifetime volunteering, Dale understands the important role that botanic gardens and arboreta can offer with community engagement as the cornerstone that botanic gardens and arboreta must embrace to remain viable, sustainable and relevant.


Dale is impassioned about botanic gardens and their role in conserving and researching flora in the face of climate change and increasing human impacts on the environment.


Education of these messages, working together with our partners and making a difference through the work of botanic gardens and arboreta to our environment and how it is perceived by the wider community is Dale's focus for BGANZ.


Dale is an active member of BGANZQ. He's a member of the BGANZ Web/Communications Working Group established November 2015. Dale is also leading BGANZ Endeavour 2020 project.



Judy West

Bryan Harty

Bede Nottingham

Chris Connolly


The Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand Inc (BGANZ) is the chief body representing the interests of botanic gardens in Australia and New Zealand.

BGANZ promotes the interests and activities of Australian and New Zealand botanic gardens and botanic gardens generally and enhances the state of botanic gardens for the benefit of the community.