The Rose Society of South Australia
“An abridged history”

From the “Advertiser” 26th August, 1908

“Rose growers will be interested to learn that a meeting will be held at Mr Creswell’s rooms, Waymouth Street, tomorrow evening for the purpose of forming a National Rose Society of South Australia.
The National Rose Society of England, it might be remarked, is one of the most influential of its kind in the world, and at the shows held by the Society, Royalty and the cottager meet on equal terms.”

And so, on Thursday 27th August, 1908 the gathering agreed to form a Rose Society in South Australia. The Constitution and Rules were adopted and Mr H. Blinman was elected President.
The principal ideas of the Society were-

  • To encourage all lovers of the rose in growing and exhibiting;
  •  That monthly competitions be held –
    three classes being provided for amateurs,
    viz., those with under 200 rose plants and those with over 200,
    a class for novices being those who have never won a prize in the Adelaide Show,
    an open class for all comers, including professionals.
  • In addition, papers and lectures to be given at the monthly meeting and all items of interest in the culture of the rose to be disclosed.

Humble beginnings for a group of rose lovers that over the next 105 years would grow from 50 Members to over 1100 – the largest Rose Society in Australia.  Meetings have been held in a number of venues throughout the Adelaide CBD, and the Society currently uses the Lecture Room in the Goodman building in the Adelaide Botanic Garden, where on average an audience of 50 Members and visitors attend.
We continue to follow the original aim of encouraging all lovers of roses in growing and exhibiting.

Being a State Society, it was important that rose enthusiasts in regional areas should be catered for as well.   During the past 20 years, the Society has established 3 branches – The South East Branch, (in the South East of the State), Chaffey Rose Club (Riverland/Riverina/Sunraysia areas) and Roses on Eyre (Eyre Peninsula).

The Society’s primary promotional activities each year are its Spring and Autumn Rose Shows. These two day events provide Members of the public with the opportunity of viewing a selection of the newest cultivars available, and also the competitive section. Trophies, named after influential Rose Society Members of the past are keenly sought after by our competitive Members.  The Society also offers free rose cultural advice, identification of roses, plant sales and associated activities.
During the 1990’s the Adelaide Rose Festivals, staged in St Peters College Memorial Hall, the Adelaide Town Hall, the Masonic Centre and the Botanic Park captivated the gardening public.
During this ten year period, our Society showed incredible growth, due in part to the high profile that resulted from the staging of these biennial events.  The participation of well known rose growers and breeders from overseas added to the interest of the events.

We have been fortunate, ever since 1908 to have had the benefit of experienced Members, willing to share their knowledge and skills with less experienced growers. This has benefited all who have wanted to increase their own personal knowledge and pleasure from growing Roses.

Malcolm Watson


The Objectives of the Society are:-

  • to encourage, improve, foster and extend the cultivation and appreciation of the Rose
  • to arrange, sponsor, and/or conduct talks, demonstrations, exhibitions and shows.
  • to do all such other things as may be incidental to the attainment of these objects