Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Port Augusta Incorporated


The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Port Augusta, Incorporated

Personality Profiles at the Garden: A PIONEER IN HORTICULTURE


The Society

Current Newsletter

Application Form

Vivienne and Noel Lothian 'The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden', said Mr Noel Lothian, 'is a unique area for a dry lands gardening operation.'

Mr Lothian and wife Vivienne, were visiting Port Augusta to attend a reception in appreciation for his generous donation of books valued at $ 20,000 March 30th 2004.

Mayor Joy Baluch welcomed Mr Lothian and presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation. Mrs Lothian received a bouquet of native flora.
Mr Noel Lothian pioneered many projects in horticulture. After the Second World War, Mr Lothian gained the National Diploma of Horticulture (NZ) for which he was awards the Cockayne Gold Medal. He became lecturer in Horticulture, Univerity of New Zealand where he established the horticultural diploma and degree courses.

Mr Lothian was Director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden for 33 years. He was also the founder of the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. Mr Lothian organised the first ‘Friends Group at the Adelaide Botanic Garden and the first in Australia in 1978. Many ‘Friends’ Groups have since been established including the Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden at Port Augusta.
In 1961 he was the recipient of the Order of the British Empire, and in 1975 the Royal Horticulture Society, London awarded him the Veitch Memorial Gold Medal in recognition of his work and writings, radio and television activities

‘I believe the Australian Arid Lands Garden is progressing favourably and will develop into a world famous Garden.’ He went on to add, ‘ It is an important tourist attraction.’ Mr Lothian gave credit to WMC for their generous financial input, which has greatly aided the development of the Garden.

The Port Augusta Library staff has catalogued the books, which are housed in the WMC Herbarium Room at the Reception Centre in the AALBG. The books are to be used for research and can be access through the Port Augusta Library by arrangement.
Council members, Friends of the AALBG and Guides of the Garden and other guests attended the reception.


Penelope Horn is the proprietor of DA Horn Books, Adelaide. She has been involved in evaluating the books donated by Mr Noel Lothian, from his extensive library gathered over a lifetime, to the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. She was guest at the reception in honour of Mr Noel Lothian Tuesday 30th March 2004.

DA Horn Books has evolved over thirty years. ‘I began to read the Melbourne Age when I was three. ‘ Penelope recalls. ‘When we moved to Sydney I then read the Sydney Morning Herald. I read everything like a caterpillar, voraciously, working my way through my father’s and grandfather’s library as well as school libraries.’

As a young girl, Penelope earned two shillings pocket money, which she spent on buying books until her mother said, ‘You are encroaching on my space.’ While a junior at the Sydney Girls High School, Penelope then began to haunt the second hand bookshops in the city. ‘I would agonise over the sale of every one of my books, it was such a wrench to part with one of them.’ In this fashion Penelope financed her passion for collecting books. It was then that she discovered some dealers were paying her more than what she bought the books for. ‘I began to finance my collections by dealing and selling books, ‘she says.

‘When I married,’ Penelope explains, ‘ I brought thousands of books into my marriage, along with my husband’s collection. Together we started collecting and dealing in books from home.
The next step was taken when their accountant urged them to start a business and in 1974 they began trading using their own personal collections as stock. Later they moved into Adelaide, where the Manager of the Corporation of the City of Adelaide asked Penelope to evaluate the Corporation’s book collection. Penelope discovered the largest collection of books on local government in the Southern Hemisphere. She tells how she worked hard for three weeks and when she presented for report the Manager said, ‘I’m not going to pay you.’ Penny was aghast. ’However I will arrange for you to start a book shop in a central location.’
The location was a stone’s throw from the Town Hall and opposite the Stock Exchange. Penelope describes it ‘As a little shoe box of a place.’ The rent was Eight pounds a week.
Today the Telecom Tower has replaced the little shoebox and DA Horn have moved to their present premises.


© 2012 Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden