The Queensland Natural History Award is presented annually by the Queensland Naturalists’ Club Inc. to give recognition to persons who have made outstanding contributions to natural history in Queensland.
The Queensland Natural History Award for 2014 was presented to Mr Frances David Hocking
David Hockings has made a significant contribution to
natural history in Queensland in a number of fields. He has had a lifelong deep
interest in natural history and his involvement in organisations has outstanding.
He was a founding (and ongoing) member of the Society for Growing Australian
Plants (SGAP – now Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) ANPSA). He
served on the Queensland Regional Council, its management committee, almost
continuously from its inception in 1957 until the present. Because of his great
knowledge of native plants he was elected Technical Officer from 1969 to 1982.
He relinquished that position to become Queensland Region President, a position
that he held three times totalling nine years. He has served in numerous other
positions over the years in the Queensland Region and the Federal body, and is
currently Horticultural Officer for both Queensland and the
body. David has also been an active member of the Queensland Naturalists’ Club
Inc. for many years, and has served on our Council in various positions
including that of President.
CAPTION: David Hockings (left) receives the Queensland Natural History Award for 2014 from the QNC President Mr Harry Hines. Photo: Peter Woodall.
Few people could match David’s
knowledge of Australian native plants, their use, pests and diseases – made
more impressive by his lack of formal training in these fields. He has always been
willing to share this knowledge with others. David has presented many talks to
both of the above organisations and to the branches of SGAP. He has presented
numerous lectures to audiences ranging from garden clubs to professional
organisations on the identification, ecology and use of Australian native
plants for ornamental, commercial and environmental purposes. On two occasions,
he presented the Bill Tulloch Memorial lecture to Queensland Region SGAP, the
most important lecture in the Society’s annual calendar. He has also presented
the A J Swaby lecture for ASGAP at the federal
biennial conference, the main address at that conference, and has been the
keynote speaker at another ASGAP conference. He provided a short lecture series
to interested nursery staff in his spare time
and has been a
part-time lecturer at QAC, TAFE, QIT and the University of Queensland at secondary, tertiary and postgraduate levels.
He has also contributed to ABC radio garden talks in Toowoomba and Brisbane.
The author of numerous articles and small publications on Australian native plants, David also wrote the book "Friends and Foes of Australian Gardens (including Pests, Diseases, Parasites and Predators)" in 1980, a highly valued reference for professional nurserymen and gardeners. Since receiving the Queensland Natural History Award in February 2014 a revised edition of this book “Pests, Diseases and Beneficials: friends and foes of Australian gardens” has been published.
David has also contributed
significantly to the scientific collections of the Queensland Herbarium
Over many years, whenever the opportunity arose, David travelled extensively
throughout Queensland collecting, pressing and curating
plant specimens that were
were eagerly accepted by the
herbarium. He has contributed almost 700 specimens of over 550 species to the
Queensland Herbarium. In addition to these specimens he has an extensive
collection of images and notes.
David’s contributions to natural history and horticulture
have earned him previous awards. In 1989 he and his wife Olive were awarded
Honorary Life Membership of SGAP Queensland Region, the highest honour the
Society can bestow on its members, for “the very valuable contribution to the
Queensland Region of SGAP and to the promotion of Australian plants over many
years”. National Council of the Australian
Institute of Horticulture granted David its Award of Excellence in 1986 and in
become a member of
the Order of Australia (AM) for service to horticulture through commercial
development of the native plant and flower industry. His significant
contributions to the Queensland Herbarium scientific collection have been
recognised by the naming of two species in his honour: Acacia hockingsii and Grevillea hockingsii.
He also served on the committee organised by the Director of the Queensland
Herbarium to select the Queensland’s floral emblem. The
awarding of the Queensland Natural History Award for 2014 to David Hockings further
highlights the outstanding contributions he has made to the knowledge of
Queensland’s native plants and to the Society for Growing Australian Plants,
the Queensland Naturalists Club and the various other
individuals, clubs and societies he has so willingly donated his knowledge and