Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born in UK on 18 January 1922, died in Australia on 10th August 2012.
He grew up in England, served as a pilot in the RAF in WWII and migrated to Australia in 1950.
Known to orchid enthusiasts through his involvement in many organisations relating to orchids, his innovative hybridizing and his writing. At the time of his death Wal Upton was a patron of the Australasian Native Orchid Society.
In the foreword to "Dendrobium Orchids of Australia" by Walter T Upton. 1989, L J Lawler of Atherton Qld wrote:
'Wal Upton is well known throughout Australia and beyond as a fine grower of orchids, Ably assisted by Jill Upton, he has directed his energies and expertise to the growing of Australian orchids. He has taken great pains to accumulate a stock of fine plants of Dendrobium species and, using these as parents, has proceeded to follow a carefully, thought out programme of hybridisation.'
Again in "Sarcochilus Orchids of Australia" by Walter T Upton 1992, L. J Lawler wrote in the foreword:
'Wal and Jill Upton, well known as the Double-U combination, are recognised in Australia and abroad as good growers of Australian native orchids. That their long-term program of hybridisation, which is both well conceived and imaginative is now coming to fulfilment in this book.'
He was a prolific artist and illustrated both the books and was well known for his botanical illustrations. Wal provided his illustrations to most societies he belonged to for publication in their monthly news sheets. Over the years he has contributed to most magazines and monthly bulletins.
Wal has at least 172 registered orchid hybrids to his name. Most of his breeding was with the Australian Native Orchids, including the first Australian hybrid Bulbophyllum, Bulbo. Alpha. Wal's innovative breeding included creating new genera, Porterara and Uptonara and it was only a few weeks ago that one of his unusual hybrids Dendrobium 'Pink Ballerina' was awarded a HCC-NSW/AOC. D. Pink Ballerina has received more recognition since the change to appreciation judging and it has been recognised that big flowers are not always better.
He was a founder member and foundation secretary of Australasian Native Orchid Society and President of the Orchid Society of NSW and a life member of both. He received an Award of Honour from the Australian Orchid Council and member of the Australian Orchid Foundation. He was chairman of the 13th International Botanical Congress Orchid Symposium held in Sydney in 1981. He was both an ANOS Judge and an AOC Judge.
Wal received the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday list in 2007.
Source: Extracted from: The Orchadian Vol.17 No.5 2012 , as was portrait.