29th May 1887 ~ February 1965
Alex commenced growing orchids in Richmond, South Australia, in the late 1930’s. He built a glasshouse based on the English style. With sides that were about 4 feet high on which the glass roof was constructed. He also built a brush house for his cool growing ferns and orchids. He grew cattleyas, cypripediums (paphiopedilums) and other genera.
Mr Fred Osborn of Osborn Nurseries in Adelaide was one of the early orchid growers to import orchids from overseas. It was through Fred’s influence that Alex began to grow orchids.
Alex moved from Adelaide to Melbourne in the 1930’s where he joined the Victorian Orchid Club.
In about 1949 he was able to purchase the roof sections of two glasshouses from Ripponlea. They had been manufactured in England in sections in the 1880’s. (Ripponlea is now the Headquarters of the Australian National Trust.) Alex also imported orchids from England, France and Hawaii.
Alex first exhibited in the Lower Town Hall in Melbourne in1947 and was a regular exhibitor at various and numerous orchid shows, including that of Melbourne Eastern Orchid Society in 1950, and also at functions arranged by the VOC at Preston Motors in Russell Street.
Alex commenced ‘Kirksley Orchid Nursery’ about 1954 and this nursery is still managed by his daughter, Marjorie. Alex died in February 1965.
Alex enjoyed growing orchids and it gave him great pleasure and an interest both before and more especially after his retirement.
For many years Alex was a regular visitor to the Orchid Society of New South Wales show that was held in the Sydney Town Hall. This was always a highlight for him, for he loved meeting people, viewing the exhibits and socializing.
Alex, this was your life, forging many good friendships.
A donation has been made to the Australian Orchid Trust Fund by Marjorie Kirkbright.