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Timeline – Australian Cultivar Registration Authority

ACRA Timeline

Adapted from notes of ACRA Secretary Paul Carmen, National Botanic Gardens, Canberra.

1950s (Late)– Society for Growing Australian Plants (SGAP) was formed. Correspondence was initiated by the publication branch (Maurie Wilson) of the newly formed SGAP with the Royal Horticultural Society in England, between 1959 and 1962.
1962 (Feb.) – South East Region of SGAP accepted an offer from the ‘International Commission for the Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) to undertake the registrations of cultivars of genera endemic to Australia, and to act as the national registration authority, in conjunction with the National Herbarium of Victoria (in Melbourne)’. A committee was then established (on a voluntary basis) with Maurie Wilson and Ernest Lord (editor of Your Garden) representing SGAP and Jim Willis and Arthur Court representing the Herbarium. Jim Willis was appointed as Chairman and the name ‘Australian Cultivar Registration Authority’ (ACRA) was created.
1962 – May 8 first meeting. ACRA sends letters to nurseries and members of the nursery industry and horticultural societies throughout Australia asking for lists of names of known cultivars.
1966 – The first list of cultivars was published. Albert Hargrave (S.G.A.P. Victorian Branch) joined the Committee to replace Maurie Wilson.
1970 – John Wrigley, Curator of the Canberra Botanic Gardens began discusses possibility of ACRA being moved to Canberra.
1971 – John Wrigley was elected to ACRA and became its first Secretary and Bill Payne was also elected. Meeting recommended an expansion of the committtee to make it more nationally representative and that the headquarters of ACRA be moved to the Canberra Botanic Gardens.
1973 – ACRA was officially moved to the Canberra Botanical Gardens. The first constitution was developed. A list of 128 cultivars which the late Ernest Lord had compiled were presented for publication in the Australian Plants Journal.
1974 – ACRA expanded to eleven members with representatives from all botanic gardens, SGAP and the nursery industry. The new committee set about defining rules for registration of cultivars including the need for a herbarium specimen and two photographs and what fees might be charged. A grant $100 was received from SGAP and a bank account was established. It was also decided that the Australian Plants Journal would be its official publication. The first cultivars were officially registered: Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’, Grevillea ‘Molonglo’ and Telopea ‘Braidwood Brilliant’.
1975 – ACRA was invited to provide an honorary member of the Plant Breeders Rights Committee and John Wrigley was nominated. David Young travelled to Melbourne and Gippsland to visit Leo Hodge and Bill Caine regarding the ‘Poorinda’ cultivars. Trade Marks were discussed as nurseries were beginning to develop labels and using trade marks as a means of protecting their cultivars.
1978 – David Young was appointed as the first ACRA Registrar.
Number of registered cultivars by the end of 1979 = 85.

1980 – Geoff Butler was appointed ACRA Registrar.
1981 – A new application form developed with a fee of $10 for cultivar registration. SGAP continued its support with a grant $200.
1984 – ACRA put up a proposal to register Acacia cultivars
1986 – The first ACRA cultivar descriptions were published in the Australian Horticulture (formerly Australian Nurseryman) magazine. Planning began for the book on Australian cultivars.
1987 – ACRA puts on a small display at the Sydney Wildflower Spectacular.
Proclamation of the Plant Variety Rights (PVR) legislation into law.
1988 – Registration form revised and the fee increased to $20. Jim Willis retired from ACRA . ACRA Committee invited take on the role of commenting on all new applications PVR. The Book Garden Varieties of Australian Plants was published.
Cultivar registrations to the end of 1989 = 233
1990 – Neil Marriott elected ASGAP representative, and Roger Spencer Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Two tier registration fee proposed with $20 for basic and $50 for a more detailed description. It was decided that commercial names would no longer be accepted as part of the cultivar name.
1991– Trevor Christensen elected Adelaide Botanic Gardens representative. ACRA cultivar registration fees waived for ASGAP branches, regions and Study Groups on the proviso that a full description be provided with each nomination
1994 – Development of the new ACRA database
1996 – Registration fee of $50 for all cultivar registrations. ACRA receives grant from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation to colour code naturally occurring forms of Australian plants.
1998 – ACRA to be paid $50 for each PBR application to cover cost of processing herbarium specimens.
1999 – PBR Office sends representative (Helen Costa) to ACRA AGM.
Cultivar registrations to the end of 1999 = 337
2000 ->Web-page descriptions and ACRA website developed
2007 – Review carried out to assess future directions for ACRA. Plans begin for the Checklist of Australian Cultivars Project – funding support sought fron ANPS groups
2009 – Checklist of Australian Cultivars Project begins funding of $50,000 (ANPS – $19,332, ACRA $10,000, Horticulture Australia Ltd $21,000), Emma Clifton employed as Australian Plant Name Index (APNI) editor and works for 12 months part time.
2010 – Further funding sought to complete Checklist Project. Work on new electronic application form begins. Total ACRA cultivar registrations to the end of 2011 = 397
2012 – Electronic application form completed. Celebrations for 50th anniversary

First published on the internet – 1 March 2019

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