Meet Diana Corbyn – 2016 Wildflower Society Awardee

Meet Diana Corbyn – 2016 Wildflower Society Awardee

Diana’s very passionate and long service to the Wildflower Society has been awarded.

Diana’s willingness to take on leadership roles for the Wildflower Society is admirably demonstrated by her being President of the Murdoch Branch, twice, the first time as the 3rd President of the Branch in 1992-1994 and again in 2008-2010. She was also Vice President in 1994-1995. She has been continuously on the committee of the Murdoch Branch since 1989, a year after it was founded in 1988.

Diana also served on the Society’s Management Committee in the mid 1990’s when she was engaged at the WA Herbarium. During this time, she managed, and contributed to, a flora survey of the Kalannie Goodlands at Dalwallinu. Diana also organised and participated in flora surveys the Cardup Nature Reserve and Adjacent Bushland, Byford, and Lake Kogolup, South Lake (2011) on behalf of the Wildflower Society.

Over the years, Diana’s enthusiasm for sharing her wide botanical knowledge, and in particular her love of the local flora, has resulted in a number of public wildflower walks conducted each year by the Murdoch Branch (stay tuned – they are still on this year!). The first of these was initiated by Diana in Samson Park on behalf of the Fremantle City Council in 1998 and has continued to this day. Diana was also instrumental in inaugurating public wildflower walks at Wireless Hill, Melville, and Kwinana Rotary Park (commenced 2010). Diana also facilitated, organised and co-lead the 5-day pre-conference southern wildflower tour and the two half-day Perth wildflower tours that included Wireless Hill, Forrest Road Reserve in Beeliar Regional Park and the Bob Blackburn Flora Reserve in Armadale conducted as part of the 2005 ASGAP Conference hosted by WA.

Diana has been very active in the understanding, preservation and restoration of Ken Hurst Park, Leeming, since 1992 when she organised and participated in a flora survey of Ken Hurst Park for the City of Melville. A photograph of her and her daughter Zoe were published in the Leeming to Kardinya Herald in 1999 informing readers that Ken Hurst Park had been adopted by the Wildflower Society and it had been nominated for inclusion in Perth’s Bush Forever. She was also photographed in Ken Hurst Park in 2001 with Delys Hurst, the widow of Ken Hurst, and the late Andrew Thompson. She wrote a submission on the City of Melville’s proposal to re-zone Ken Hurst Park from ‘Rural’ to ‘Private Recreation’ under a Metropolitan Region Scheme Proposed Amendment and attended the Hearings Committee in 1999 to verbally plead the case. She was then part of the Ken Hurst Park Concept Plan Working Group convened by the City of Melville to decide to what use Ken Hurst Park should be put. Once the decision to preserve Ken Hurst Park as a conservation area was agreed, Diana has been on the committee of the Friends of Ken Hurst Park and has participated in a number of planting, rubbish removal, dieback removal and wildflower walk events between 2000 and 2012.

Diana has also campaigned against the development of Farrington Road, the Murdoch Super Block (which includes the Fiona Stanley Hospital site) and Roe Highway Stage 7, and continues to campaign against Roe Highway Stage 8.

Diana has represented the Wildflower Society of WA on several committees, including the WA Flora Industry Advisory Committee (WAFIAC) since its inauguration, where she represented conservation interests as opposed to industry interests. She also represented the Wildflower Society on the Fiona Stanley Hospital Community Reference Group.

Diana has been a lecturer at Challenger TAFE’s Murdoch Campus since 1991 and continually promotes the Wildflower Society and its aims, encouraging students to join. She initiated the Great Gladdy Grab (Gladiolus caryophyllaceus) tradition at Challenger TAFE’s Murdoch Campus and Wireless Hill. After hours, she has been known to carry on weeding the bushland surrounding the Challenger TAFE Campus, such is her dedication. This is further demonstrated by the fact she was Vice President of the Environmental Weeds Action Network started by Joanna Seabrook. Diana was also involved in the Murdoch Branch Pampas Busters project in 1993-1995 during which members of the Society were issued with cards on which to report any sightings of this environmental weed. These cards were then returned to Murdoch Branch following which a letter and an information pamphlet was issued to the property owners concerned. The pamphlet described the plant, its weed potential and suggestions for control, removal and destruction.

All in all, Diana is a very quiet behind-the-scenes leader who has had a tremendous impact on the Murdoch Branch of the Wildflower Society. She is generous in her praise of others, but shuns the limelight and is very self-effacing about her own achievements. Diana is a most worthy recipient of the Wildflower Society Award so please support her and congratulate her every time you see her.

The award was handed to Diana by our current president Geoff Corrick – at our AGM held on 25th June 2016. The AGM was held at Kanyana Wildlife Center and hosted by Darling Range Branch.