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The Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens Incorporated (CHABG) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the protection, conservation and enhancement of Australian plants and their ecosystems. It works with Australian botanic gardens and other institutions to support and carry out research, collaborate with integrated conservation management, promote knowledge sharing and education about plants and plant communities and provide a forum to promote the diversity of work undertaken by botanic gardens. The Australian Seed Bank Partnership is the principal conservation program of CHABG. CHABG’s management committee draws on the expertise of senior executives from Australia’s capital city botanic gardens who guide the strategic direction of the Partnership’s work to ensure it addresses national plant conservation priorities and contributes to international conservation targets.


Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens Incorporated


Mr Dale Arvidsson (Chair, CHABG Inc.)
Brisbane Botanic Gardens

Mr Alan Barrett (Secretary, CHABG Inc.)
Chief Executive Officer
Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (Kings Park)



Dr Brett Summerell (Treasurer, CHABG Inc.)
Deputy Executive Director, Science and Conservation
Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust



Mr Gary Davies
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

Prof Timothy Entwisle
Director and Chief Executive
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Mr Bryan Harty
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

Dr Lucy Sutherland
Botanic Gardens of South Australia

Dr Judy West

Dr Judy West
Executive Director
Australian National Botanic Gardens



Mr Damian Wrigley
National Coordinator
Australian Seed Bank Partnership




National Steering Committee

The national steering committee for the Australian Seed Bank Partnership brings together a team of leading experts from the members of the Partnership who help deliver real plant conservation outcomes. These experts range from seed scientists, botanists, taxonomists and ecologists to horticulturalists and plant conservation ambassadors.

Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory

Tom North – National Seed Bank, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy

Tom is the Curator of the National Seed Bank at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Tom has been involved in seed banking with both the horticultural and native revegetation industries for the past 15 years. His particular interests include the use of seed banks as a tool for better ex situ conservation of native species and to facilitate restoration and recovery programs across broad landscapes.


Tom North

Tom North

New South Wales

Dr Peter Cuneo – PlantBank, The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan

Peter Cuneo is Manager – Natural Heritage at The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, where he is responsible for conservation planning and natural area management. He is also the project leader of the NSW Seedbank program, including the partnership with Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.

Peter has been closely involved in the horticultural development of The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan (formerly known as Mount Annan Botanic Garden) since it opened in 1988. His research interest is the weed ecology of invasive African olive, which is a problem weed at the Garden. He has written several research papers on this species as part of his PhD (by publication) with Macquarie University.


Peter Cuneo is researching African olive, a problem weed at The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan. Photo: Simone Cotterell
Peter Cuneo

Northern Territory

Ben Wirf – George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

Ben Wirf is the Nursery Supervisor for the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens and is responsible for the curation and maintenance of the botanic gardens' seed store. Ben has expertise in tropical horticulture and has extensive field botanical experience involving identification, collection, germination and cultivation of a variety of Northern Territory flora. He has been involved in field surveys with the Australian Biological Resources Study Bush Blitz program and taken part in many Northern Territory Flora Surveys.


Ben Wirf


Jason Halford – Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Queensland Herbarium

Jason has worked on the Queensland's Seeds for Life collaboration with Brisbane Botanic Gardens since 2006. He is currently a Senior Ecologist with the Queensland Herbarium and a tutor with the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland. Jason has extensive expertise in floral surveys, native seed collection and the preparation of herbarium voucher specimens. In addition, he has extensive experience in bush regeneration having worked in his earlier career with various organisations, including Landcare and Greening Australia. Jason recently received the Dean's Commendation for High Achievement for his Master of Science in Conservation Biology from the University of Queensland.


Jason Halford

South Australia

Dr Jenny Guerin – South Australian Seed Conservation Centre, Adelaide Botanic Garden, Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, South Australia

Jenny Guerin has been working at the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre since 2009 assisting with seed collecting and studying seed biology. She is also involved in several projects investigating seed germination requirements  and propagation of native species for revegetation projects.


Jenny Guerin


James Wood – Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

James Wood is the seed bank manager of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and has worked in and around seed banking for over 20 years. He took on his current post in December 2005 after working at RBG, Kew's Seed Conservation Department for seven years. Prior to that, he held a horticultural support post for the Kew seed bank for six years. His first experience of seed science was as a student when he spent his industrial placement year working in research at the Kew seed bank.

Running and overseeing seed bank germination tests for over 14 years, James has a broad background and interest in the difficulties of wild species germination. He also has an interest in the effective recording and analysis of this data.


James Wood


Neville Walsh – Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Neville is the Senior Conservation Botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and manages the Victorian Conservation Seedbank program.

Neville’s background is in botanical survey, particularly of alpine and subalpine vegetation. He surveys and develops recovery strategies for threatened Victorian plants and conducts taxonomic research in several plant groups, including:

  • the genus Pomaderris in the family Rhamnaceae
  • Melicytus (Violaceae)
  • genera of Australian Asteraceae, Poaceae and Lobeliaceae (Campanulaceae subfamily Lobeloideae).

Neville is a member of the Australian Plant Census working group, the Mountain Invasions Research Network (MIREN), and recovery teams for threatened plants and animals in Victoria. He is co-editor of Flora of Victoria, and has submitted accounts of various plant groups for publication in the Flora of Australia.

Neville Walsh in the field at Brumby Point, Nunniong Plateau, Victoria. Photo: J. Walsh
Neville Walsh

Western Australia

Dr David Merritt – Western Australian Seed Centre, Kings Park and Botanic Garden

David is a Senior Research Scientist at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA). David manages BGPA’s seed research programs that focus on progressing fundamental and applied aspects of seed biology and technology to improve how seeds are used for conservation and restoration.

A seed scientist for more than 15 years, David’s research interests include seed storage physiology and longevity, seed dormancy and germination, and the development of seed enhancement technologies.


Dr David Merritt
David Merritt

United Kingdom

Dr Elinor Breman - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - Millennium Seed Bank

Elinor is the Australian Conservation Partnerships Coordinator at the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Elinor Breman

Non-Government Organisations (NGO's)

Dr Andrew Crawford - Australian Network for Plant Conservation

Andrew Crawford is the manager of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ Western Australian Seed Centre  which is located in Kensington, Western Australia. Andrew has been collecting native seeds for over 20 years and started seed conservation work at the TFSC in 2001. Andrew’s work covers all aspects of the seed conservation process; from seed collection and processing, to seed storage and testing, generating plants for translocations, as well as seed focused research aiding in threatened species management and recovery.

Andrew Crawford

Dr Paul Gibson-Roy - Greening Australia

Paul been interested in grassland restoration since an undergraduate at Burnley College, Melbourne University in the mid-1990s. Following his PhD, which focused on the restoration of diverse grasslands, he established the Greening Australia/Melbourne University partnered Grassy Groundcover Research Project (GGRP), which has continued in differing forms until the present day. In addition to developing grassland restoration techniques, the GGRP investigated in considerable detail the use of native seed production crops to supply seed for restoration. In recent years Paul has led Greening Australia’s western Sydney seed production project to develop capacity which will assist in restoring critically threatened Cumberland Plain Grassy Woodland. Paul recently toured the United States on a Churchill Fellowship investigating native seed producers and prairie restoration.

Paul Gibson-Roy