Australian Orchid Foundation

In memory of


13th August, 1904 ~ 21st August, 2003

Bill Rigg, the eldest of four children, was born in 1904 in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1912 when he was eight, he and his family migrated to Australia on the S.S. Paparoa. His family settled in West Brunswick where his initial education began. He left school at fourteen years of age and went to work for a chemist washing bottles and delivering medicines.

The Pharmacist persuaded him to continue studying and after several years of night school he entered Pharmacy College. After four years of study he graduated with a Degree of Pharmacology and was awarded the Medal for Botany.

With the help of his younger brother he started a chemist shop in Shepparton and ran a successful business for some years before deciding to continue his studies. He was accepted by Melbourne University to undertake the degree in Medicine.

During this time he had married and had three children, one boy and two girls. In 1937, towards the conclusion of his degree, the family moved to Melbourne and settled in North Balwyn. He was working at Melbourne Hospital when war was declared and like many others he enlisted. He was posted to Darwin as a Captain in charge of a Military Hospital.

On discharge, he started his own general practice at home, later building a new home in Doncaster Road, North Balwyn. The practice expanded and new partners were taken on. It was at this point in his life that his love of orchids surfaced and what started as a small hobby soon grew.

He built a smaller home and moved away from the Surgery. A large heated glasshouse was erected to grow tropical orchids and he joined several orchid clubs including Melbourne Eastern, Warringal, and the Species Orchid Society of Victoria.

Sadly, his wife Olive died in 1978.

In 1981 his orchid interests took him to Orchid Conferences in South Africa and Adelaide.

Apart from orchids he played golf and bowls, not letting arthritis interfere. He was invited to join The Australian Orchid Foundation and had meetings at his home. At this time he helped with the ‘Butterfly House’ at the Melbourne Zoo, introducing orchids for the breeding of the young pupae.

Bill died in August 2003 in Doncaster Manor where he had been a resident for two years, just one week after his 99th birthday. Bill was recognised for his services to The Australian Orchid Foundation with an Honorary Membership.

Tribute by Thelma Eastaugh

A donation has been made to the Australian Orchid Trust Fund by the Directors of The Australian Orchid Foundation.

AOTF: 3228