The South Australian branch of the Australian Lilium Society began in 1960 with the first general meeting held on October 12th.
First President of the Society, Don Scott-Young offered the Society use of part of his holding at Crafers in 1964. A quarantine station was set up adjoining “The Block.” Several of our current members will remember this.
The main purpose of The Block in 1964 was to try and increase quickly the supply of lilium bulbs to members. This was also a testing ground fro growing species and other varieties, especially imported bulbs, once they were out of quarantine.
Entrance to The Block then was at the bottom of the valley which made it much more accessible.
In 1965 approval was granted to the Society as an importing body. Experimental tests were being conducted on the effects of various fertilisers. Regular working bees were held to put in fluted asbestos to tier the beds, fertilise, mulch, spray etc.
The first Lilium Show was held in 1963, but flowers were not available from The Block until 1968.
The Society continued to administer The Block, but the quarantine station closed in 1969, with the Botanic Gardens then administering their own.
1972 meetings engendered much discussion about the future of The Block and the manpower needed for regular working bees. (Sound familiar?)
Council eliminated the lower access road in 1972, thus making the entrance at the top. The Block descends steeply, and if one drives down to the more gentler slopes where the liliums grow, one needs a 4 wheel drive vehicle to climb up again.
Don Scott-Young's property was sold in 1991, with the new owner Dr. Otto Kurlinkas taking possession in September of that year.
Dr Kurlinkas has been happy to have the Lilium Society involvement and has never charged us for use of The Block. Originally he intended to build a house there, and even had plans drawn up, and a bore sunk in readiness.
After discussions with him recently, he said that the time has come and gone to build a house there, with his children now adults.However he said that if the Lilium Society does leave The Block, he'd like the beds left tiered and a few liliums to go on with.
I am against the Society retaining The Block for a number of reasons:-
- The Block may go under new ownership if Dr. Kurlinkas loses more interest.
- Over half our current members are over 60. The Block is steep and not easy to work. Almost half of our members live in the suburbs. It is difficult for some people to get to The Block.
- There are a lot more liliums available for sale now than in the 1960s, in fact 3 of our members are sellers of bulbs.
My suggestions for increasing our flower production for decoration and sale at our shows are as follows.
- Rather than have to try and have regular working bees on The Block, surely it would be easier if we all grew 5 to 10 pots containing liliums at home.
- At each monthly meeting we could report to a Projects Officer on the progress and problems of our bulbs.
To dispose of some of the excess bulbs from The Block
, I suggest having a stall at the ABC's Carpark Caper held in March 1998. The bulbs could be identified and labelled well when in flower, to enable them to be packaged and labelled properly for sale.
I would like to see our Society sever ties with The Block
, as I feel that it is a burden on our shoulders which produces very little. We would contribute more by growing-on bulbs at home as more people would be involved than they are now.Roz Mc Gowan April 2nd 1997