~ 14th January, 2008
It is with sadness that I report the passing of Colin Hamilton at 12:30 pm on 14th January, 2008 in the Rockhampton Hospital.
Colin has been a significant contributor to the work of the Australian Orchid Council (AOC) for many years and was the person responsible for starting the AOC Website. His enthusiasm for all things pertaining to orchids was infectious. He gathered into the fold many orchid lovers from around Australia and overseas to contribute to the website.
Colin was a very active Editor/Publications Director of the AOC’s publication Orchids Australia. He worked tirelessly on the layout and sought assistance with the production of the magazine. Colin was eager to source overseas contributions: he built up quite a team from which he could draw each issue. We kept in regular contact by phone and email. I believe that we were a sounding board for each other at times.
I am proud to count Colin as a friend, albeit at a distance. We met on many occasions, usually at conferences and at AOC meetings. If there was ever anything to be placed in the magazine, Colin was keen to add it and after he ceased his role as Editor/ Publications Director it was decided that the role should be split between two people. A testimony to the amount of work that the two jobs entailed!
His initiative saw the start of the AOC website at a time when websites were not the ‘in thing’; but he saw the extent to which the site could be used to promote the work of the AOC, particularly the magazine Orchids Australia and the awards which the Judging Panels grant. The establishment of the website was not a foregone conclusion; there were those at the time who could not see the value of such a venture, especially in view of the costs incurred. It was Colin who established the connection to allow the AOC to receive a small financial return from each ‘hit’.
Colin was one of the proudest people I have known when I advised him that the AOC website had received a GOLD MEDAL at the 18th World Orchid Conference in Dijon, France in 2005. Unfortunately Colin was unable to attend that conference and I had the honour of accepting the ‘Trophy’ on his behalf at the closing ceremony. The prize, a boxed, engraved bottle of quality French white wine. The wine was duly opened by Colin, at the subsequent AOC Annual General Meeting in Melbourne and he had the honour of serving it to the gathered AOC executive and delegates.
Colin was an original contributor to the first issue of Orchids Australia and he continued to provide valuable contributions to the magazine until his untimely hospitalization.
Colin started as an AOC Student Judge in 1988, and after becoming an accredited AOC Judge in 1991 he joined in Judging orchids at Conferences both within Australia and overseas; attending World Orchid Conferences in Glasgow, Rio de Janiero, Vancouver and Malaysia as well as judging in Hawaii and New Caledonia.
He joined the Rockhampton Orchid Society in 1971. It was not long before he was a member of the committee and served in a number of capacities, Publicity, Newsletter Editor and Treasurer (some of these conjointly) until the mid-1990s, when he started as editor of Orchids Australia. At the annual Christmas Dinner in 1986, Colin was granted a Life Membership of the Society, which he viewed as a great honour.
In 1990 Colin was granted the honour of Fellow of the Australian Orchid Council for his contribution to the work of the Council, as Publications Director, Editor and Webmaster. Not only was Colin an excellent coordinator, he was, until his illness, an active AOC Judge. He was granted Judge Emeritus status for his work as an AOC Judge, being a member of the Queensland Regional Judging Panel.
Colin retired from his employment with the CSIRO in Rockhampton in mid 2007: alas, not to enjoy his retirement for very long. Colin had a serious fall at his home in Rockhampton soon after retiring and this resulted in him having a lengthy stay in hospital, only to be returned there after several more accidents. His most recent hospital stay, which commenced at the beginning of December 2007, was to be his last. He died peacefully in hospital.
Colin will be sadly missed by so many.
Tribute by Colin Jennings
A donation has been made to the Australian Orchid Trust Fund by the Directors of The Australian Orchid Foundation.