Australian Orchid Foundation

In memory of


13 April 1917 – 10 September 2017

Ruth (Baxter) was born in Perth on 13th April 1917 and celebrated her 100th birthday in April of this year.

She studied chemistry and physics at the University of Western Australia along with her future husband, Arthur Rudkin. They married and had three daughters before moving to Melbourne. There she bore her fourth daughter.  Ruth taught at a private school in Melbourne and subsequently upon moving to Sydney, undertaking another course required to teach in New South Wales. Ruth became a science teacher and taught at both Willoughby Girls High School and North Sydney Girls High School for many years.

Ruth had an early interest in the terrestrial orchids in her native state of Western Australia and continued to follow her interest in orchids when she, husband and four daughters moved to Sydney.

Being a dedicated conservationist, she brought her scientific knowledge and enjoyment of orchids along with her to all events. Ruth was a very active member of ANOS Inc., holding many positions on Council, qualified as an ANOS judge in 1994, becoming a Life Member of ANOS Inc. in 2003.  Not only was she Secretary of the Ira Butler Committee for many years but also, she contributed articles regularly to the Orchadian and other orchid journal.

Ruth was also an active member of ANOS Warringah, (being given Life Membership in 2007), also with the North Shore Orchid Society where she held the position of Secretary for two years.

Ruth participated in bushwalks, conferences and shows throughout her long life. In fact, she was still going on bushwalks with our group into her late 80’s.

Fellow orchid enthusiast Ken Russell describes Ruth as energetic and generous with her time and says she helped with the Dungog Orchid Show regularly during its 12-year tenure.

Ruth had many interests including photography and opera; she travelled extensively, going to places in China, North and South America, South Africa and including an orchid expedition to Papua New Guinea and attended many World Orchid Conferences.

Ruth was forthright and fearless and spoke up when she had an opinion. She continued to acquire new skills. After purchasing a computer and becoming “computer literate” she conducted computer courses for seniors (many of whom were younger than her) she too was also active on social media with her own Facebook page.

Ruth left us on the 10th September 2017.

She will be sadly missed by her many friends and associates in the orchid world.

AOTF receipt  3957  Graham Slater