I was educated at Port Elliot Primary and Victor Harbor secondary schools. I started work with the PMG (now Telstra) as an apprentice in 1974. During 1980 I was sent to work in Alice Springs for several months. It was during this time I took up photographing plants. On my return in 1981, I joined the South Coast Field Naturalists. Here I met Glen Stephens a botanical artist. Glen knew her native plants and helped me learn their names as I photographed them. As I travelled on holidays I photographed many flowers including orchids. I had no idea of some of their names, so I sent the orchid photos to the State Herbarium. This introduced me to Bob Bates who sent back my photos with comments “out of range, need collections”, “different to type” etc. This is when I decided to start collecting plants which was during 1986.
After a year of collecting I began picking up some names and brought the South Australian Flora and a microscope so I could look up my own plants and learn where I was going wrong with their names. This interest gave me a good grounding in my local flora to the point others (little did they know) thought I was fairly good with plant identification. I then volunteered to go on botanical surveys across South Australia which showed me how little I knew especially when it came to weeds and grasses.
I guess my interest in orchids grew from my fascination with unusual plants. My initial contact with David Jones came out of a holiday to Western Australia in 1991. I decided to collect some Drosera and Stylidium for Allen Lowrie while in the more remote areas of WA. I also made contact with Andrew Brown before I went and he suggested I collect some orchids in any remote areas. On my return home I phoned Andrew and he suggested I send my collection of orchids to Canberra instead of WA. After I received my reply back from David I then started sending fresh orchid specimens from South Australia to help further his orchid research. Over the last ten years I have sent David over five hundred specimens of orchids, these being from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria and mostly (over 430) from South Australia.
All of my botanical adventures are purely a leisure activity. Sometimes I can make the most of opportunities while working away from home and collect some plants as I travel through an area. I keep in touch with David and ask if there is anything he might need for research. This gives me a chance to organise trips or while I’m going near an area to get a specimen for him.
Source: Denzel Murfet pers com 2002, photo supplied.