Australasian Plant Pathology Society

The Australasian Plant Pathology Society is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge of plant pathology and its practice in Australasia. Australasia is interpreted in the broadest sense to include not only Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, but also the Indian, Pacific and Asian regions. Although the Society’s activities are mainly focused on the Australasian region, many of the activities of our members are of international importance and significance. The Society was founded in 1969. Our members represent a broad range of scientific interests, including research scientists, teachers, students, extension professionals, administrators, industry and pest management personnel.  Each member of APPS is an associate member of the International Society for Plant Pathology. Through the International Society, APPS is a member of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), in liaison with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Council for Science (ICSU).

The Australasian Plant Pathology Society is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge of plant pathology and its practice in Australasia.  Australasia is interpreted in the broadest sense to include not only Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, but also the Indian, Pacific and Asian regions. Although the Society’s activities are mainly focused on the Australasian region, many of the activities of our members are of international importance and significance.

Everyone is affected by plant diseases in some way. The abundant food supply we enjoy today would not be possible without control of plant diseases. Our crops, forests, native vegetation and gardens constantly face a silent battle against disease. Introduced plant pathogens are devastating native ecosystems. By studying diseases and the pathogens that cause them, plant pathologists seek to reduce the impact of diseases on the community and the environment. See educational videos. The Society was founded in 1969. Our members represent a broad range of scientific interests, including research scientists, teachers, students, extension professionals, administrators, industry and pest management personnel. Each member of APPS is an associate member of the International Society for Plant Pathology and will be included in the ISPP mailing list. Through the International Society, APPS is a member of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), in liaison with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Council for Science.   APPS is also a member of the Asian Association of Societies for Plant Pathology and has a formal linkage with the Phytopathological Society of Japan.

 

History of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society 

Attempts to co-ordinate plant pathology throughout Australia can be traced as far back as the conferences on rust in wheat held in Melbourne in 1890, Sydney in 1891, Adelaide in 1892, Brisbane in 1894 and Melbourne in 1896 (Murray 1983). These meetings were also a most significant step in establishing Australian plant pathology on the world scene (Large 1940). There are records of meetings of State plant pathologists in Sydney in 1923 and in Melbourne in 1927. While only representatives from New South Wales and Victoria attended the Sydney meeting there were resolutions from Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia at the Melbourne meeting. In 1949 the Australian Agricultural Council (AAC) resolved that CSW later CSIRO, convene a Plant Diseases Conference in Melbourne to consider and report on mycological and plant pathological problems. The conference was held 23-27 May 1949 with representatives from each State Department of Agriculture (or equivalent), CSIRO, Commonwealth Departments of Health, Commerce and Agriculture and the Universities of Sydney, Queensland and Adelaide. It was probably the first truly representative gathering of plant pathologists in Australia. In the same year, The Australian Plant Disease Recorder (APDR) was produced under the auspices of the Biology Branch, NSW Department of Agriculture. The Editor in his preface remarks stated ‘There is also the possibility that the Recorder will, in time, assist in the inauguration of an Australian Phytopathological Society’ (Butler 1949). There is absolutely no doubt that this publication brought plant pathologists in Australia much closer together and was a potent factor in the later establishment of our Society. Plant Pathology Conferences sponsored by AAC were held at Hawkesbury College, Richmond, New South Wales in 1955 and the Waite Agricultural Research Institute, Adelaide in 1961. Although there is nothing recorded from these meetings, I clearly recall out of session discussions about the possibility of a national society. At the next such conference held at Toowoomba, Queensland in 1966, N.T. Flentje delivered an address on Friday 4 November entitled ‘Australian Society of Plant Pathology – Is One Desirable?’. In the ensuing discussions it was agreed in principle to form an Australian Plant Pathology Society. A Steering Committee was set up consisting of N.T. Flentje (convenor), J. W. Meagher, C. J. Shepherd and L.L. Stubbs. This Steering Committee subsequently distributed its proposals for comment to all the plant pathology groups in Australia through the delegates who had attended the Toowoomba conference. A previous draft had been distributed through members of the Organising Committee for the Toowoomba conference at a post-conference meeting in Melbourne in September 1967. One of the proposals from the Steering Committee was a constitution based on those of the Australian Society of Microbiology and the Australian Entomological Society. L.L. Stubbs (1968) refers to these developments in a letter to H.H. Flor, President, American Phytopathological Society published in the APDR. In a communication dated 1 July 1968 distributed to all plant pathologists in Australia, N.T. Flentje indicated that 137 people had expressed a desire to join an Australian Plant Pathology Society. He listed matters where consensus was achieved: 1. The name should be Australian Plant Pathology Society (APPS). 2. Persons in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea should be included. 3. The President should hold office for 1-2 years and the Executive for 2-3 years.

It was further suggested that nominations be called for President, Vice-president, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer, with the latter three to form the Executive and be situated in Adelaide during the initial term. Election of State Councillors was to be organised through members of the 1966 Conference Organising Committee. The draft constitution was to be discussed at the first Annual General meeting (AGM) of the Society and amended if necessary before being submitted for adoption by ballot of all members. Flentje further indicated that a questionnaire was to be sent out in September 1968 seeking nominations and comments on the suggestion to hold the first Annual General Meeting in association with ANZAAS in 1969. The first Council of the Society was in place by early 1969 (Anon. 1969) and consisted of President: N.T. Flentje Vice President: H.R. Wallace Honorary Secretary: B.G. Clare Honorary Treasurer: R.L. Dodman State Regional Representatives: New South Wales A.M. Smith Victoria J. W. Meagher Queensland GS. Purss South Australia A. Kerr Western Australia R.F. Doepel Tasmania I.D. Geard Papua New Guinea Dorothy E. Shaw The first AGM of the Society was duly held in conjunction with Section 18 (Plant Pathology) of the 41st Congress of ANZAAS in Adelaide on the evening of 18 August 1969 (Table 1). The draft constitution was adopted by 60 members in attendance. The constitution was later endorsed by 82 members responding in writing to a circular distributed by the Honorary Secretary. The constitution provided for the establishment of a publication. AGMs were to be held in conjunction with successive meetings of ANZAAS. There were to be three classes of membership: Ordinary, Honorary and Sustaining. Ordinary membership should be open to all persons interested in the study of plant diseases and their causal organisms. Honorary membership should be for distinguished plant pathologists who have rendered notable service to the Society. Sustaining membership should be for interested organisations prepared to pay the annual subscription determined from time to time in return for listing in Society publications and the privilege of exhibiting products at meetings under specified conditions. A further Conference sponsored by AAC, the 5th, and as it turned out, the last, was held at Hobart from 7-12 November, 1971. The 2nd AGM of the Society was held on the evening of 10 November at which R.H. Taylor was installed as President. N.T. Flentje gave the first Presidential address entitled ‘Cocoa Die-back Disease’. The meeting approved a number of very significant recommendations and actions of the APPS Council. 1. A quarterly Newsletter ‘The Australian Plant Pathology Society Newsletter’ (APPS News) should be produced containing items of Society and personal news and also scientific notes, as letters to the Editor. 2. A directory of members should be produced indicating fields of interest. (It is important to record here the earlier efforts of C.J.

Shepherd of CSIRO in producing two editions of the ‘Directory of Australian Plant Pathologists’ (Shepherd 1963; 1966)). 3. A list of post-graduate students in plant pathology and their research topics should be published annually in the APPS Newsletter. 4. The Society had joined the International Society for Plant Pathology (ISPP) with each serving President acting as the Australian representative on the ISPP Council. The meeting also agreed that a Memorial Lecture in honour of Daniel McAlpine would be given at intervals of not more than five years by eminent plant pathologists chosen by the Council (S. Fish had previously proposed at the Toowoomba Conference that such addresses be given at future AAC Plant Pathology Conferences). Regional groupings were to receive ten per cent of annual subscriptions to support their various activities. It was agreed to investigate the possibility of &liation with the Australian Institute of Agricultural Service. The meeting agreed that it was not possible to hold the next AGM in conjunction with ANZAAS for logistic reasons and a perceived incompatibility with the program. The executive, then situated in Sydney (Table 2), produced a bulletin outlining plans for the Society and particularly the first edition of the APPS Newsletter.