In memory of
SIDNEY A. BATCHELOR
27-06-1929 ~ 05-09-2000
Sidney Albert Batchelor was born at Baulkham Hills, in north-western Sydney, on 27th June 1929, the eldest of three children. He lived his entire life in the area, never moving more than a few streets away from his childhood home. As a young man he trained and worked as a builder, before joining the NSW Police Service in 1956, where he eventually rose to the rank of Sergeant 2nd Class. On 7th February 1953, Sid married Gwen and they moved into a home in Woodlands Street which Sid had built himself prior to the wedding. They lived there for the remainder of their married lives. Together, they raised four children, Kevin, Karen, Lesley and Jenny, and in later years they were blessed with eight grandchildren.
Sid Batchelor was an orchid grower from a young age, an interest he inherited from his father. He started with Cymbidiums and Cattleyas, but became increasingly interested in Australian native orchids during the 1960’s and 70’s. In 1963 he joined The Australasian Native Orchid Society (ANOS) as a Foundation Member. Sid was a wonderful ambassador for ANOS, and everywhere he went he would promote the Society and its aims. He was a core member of the ANOS Judging Panel and for three years he served as ANOS National Registrar of Judges. In 1999 Sid Batchelor was elected a Life Member of ANOS. Sid’s “home” society was ANOS Sydney Group, where he was a Life Member and also Patron for many years.
Sid was not a complicated man, and he took a straightforward and down-to-earth approach to life. His innate honestly and integrity of character guided him in everything he did, and he had an unfailing ability to quickly distinguish between sincerity and sham. He was a perfectionist, but not in a difficult or obsessive way. He simply wanted to do things as well as he could, and he went to great lengths to achieve his aims. His nursery, known simply as ‘Yondi’, was picture of perfection, for underpinning everything he did with orchids Sid was a skilled grower with the knack of cultivating and flowering his plants to their best potential.
During his time as a breeder of Australian native orchids, Sid’s name became synonymous with quality. Commencing in the early 1970’s, Sid set about building a collection of quality stock plants to be used in his breeding programmes. He chose these plants carefully and with considerable forethought, and the outcome was a distinctive, high quality line of species outcrosses and hybrids. Such breeding plants as Dendrobium Star of Gold ‘Bathurst’, D. Peachglow ‘Brolga’, D. Ellen ‘Deloraine’, D. Jamie Upton ‘Goldie’, D. Peter ‘Citron’, D. Aussie Bonanza ‘Tammy’, D. kingianum ‘Betty’ and D. tetragonum ‘Yondi No.1’ were just a few of Sid’s best known plants with proven breeding potential.
One of the keys to Sid’s success as a breeder was to only select parent plants which were strong, vigorous growers. He was of the opinion that regardless of flower quality, if a plant is difficult or temperamental to cultivate, then it has little worth, and he did his best to eliminate such characteristics from his breeding lines. As a consequence, Sid had a reputation for producing plants that were not only of the highest quality, but they were easy to grow as well. He thought carefully about the results he wanted to achieve and he never made speculative crosses “just to see what might happen”. He usually planned at least one season in advance and he always used the best quality parents he could source. And, if in his eyes a cross did not produce a successful outcome, he would not submit it to RHS for registration. He was exacting in his expectations.
In 1993, Sid was presented with the Ira Butler Outstanding Achievement Trophy for his contributions to the culture, breeding and advancement of Australian native orchid hybrids.
Sid’s strength of character and mind were matched by his physical bearing. He was a tall, imposing figure, possessed of great physical strength, and yet in every sense of the word, he was a gentleman. He had a wonderful sense of humour and enjoyed nothing more than being out in his nursery talking orchids with a couple of friends. He combined great talent with great modesty.
Sid Batchelor passed away on 5th September 2000.
A donation has been made to the Australian Orchid Trust Fund by the
Directors of The Australian Orchid Foundation.