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ASBS Newsletter – Article

Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria
Herbarium Technicians Workshop

National Herbarium of New South Wales
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

24th - 28th August 1992

(From ASBS Newsletter Number 74, March 1993)

The CHAH Herbarium Technicians Workshop is a biennial event hosted by herbaria around Australia. To date they have been held at BRI (1988), AD (1990) and now NSW. Seven technicians from the Australian National Botanic Gardens were able to attend. Other technicians from AD, BRI, CANB, CHR, DNA, MEL, MELU, NSW, PERTH, QRS, University of Western Sydney Herbarium, and WELT also attended.

ANBG participants agreed that the Workshop was a success. From the beginning it was obvious that many people at NSW had spent many hours organizing and working towards making it so. Many thanks are again due to those people and in particular David Bedford, Barry Conn and Anna-Louise Quirico.

The Workshop covered many topics of relevance to herbarium workers and provided an insight into all the workings of NSW, with sessions covering conservation materials used for mounting specimens (paper products, tapes, adhesives etc.), herbarium pests and their control, the volunteer mounting programme, loans procedures, specimen collecting for the herbarium and living collections, photography, the scanning electron microscope, systematics, the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, pollen analysis, the DELTA system, and pronunciation of botanical names, as well as some sessions where NSW staff spoke about their research (e.g. Eucalyptus, ferns, Scrophulariaceae, water-lilies, Westringia, and Xyris). We were also shown around the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, the Sydney Tropical Centre, and the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens.

Criticism of the Workshop was minor, and is limited to there being simply not enough time for participants to engage in much if any discussion after a talk. The half hour allocated to speakers proved to be too limiting in many cases, with speakers often running over time or being cut short. There needed to be more time available for participants to speak about their own institutional practices, and then to exchange ideas and information. However morning and afternoon tea and dinner allowed for much discussion and debate.

The value of getting together with those people who do the same jobs as ourselves cannot be overstated. The Workshop is really the only opportunity to meet our opposite numbers and discuss the ways in which our work is done. The Workshop generated much discussion about how things are done, why things are done in a particular way and how to improve what is done. We returned to CBG with renewed enthusiasm and ideas on how to improve what we do!


Andrew Lyne, Corinna Broers, Faye Davies, Wendy Dossetor, Helen Hadobas, Susan Walker and Paul Ziesing

Australian National Botanic Gardens