By TOM GANNON
THE Morwell Centenary Rose Garden is preparing for change as the Garden’s Management Committee chair Del Matthews retires from the position.
A small group of volunteers, Latrobe City Mayor Sharon Gibson and Cr Graeme Middlemiss came together last week to present Mrs Matthews with a certificate in recognition of her dedication and service to the rose garden.
Although Mrs Matthews is stepping down from the position of chair, she will remain a committee member and continue to maintain the beauty of the world renowned rose garden.
Mrs Matthews said her tenure had been a great experience.
“It’s been a wonderful 10 years and a wonderful 30 years, but it’s time for someone else to step up,” she said.
The position of chair will be taken up by Carl Ellefsen.
“I’m really pleased that Carl has stepped up, It’s an excellent choice,” Mrs Matthews said.
“It’s very important to understand all the workings and Carl has been membership secretary for the Rose Society of Victoria, vice president, he’s been the delegate for the state at the national conference, so he’s got the knowledge as well as a very good working rose knowledge too.”
Mrs Matthews was appointed secretary of the garden’s steering committee in 1992 and since then has enjoyed a 30-year stint as a member of the Management Committee.
During this time she has served in every capacity including that of current chair and often taking on the duties and responsibilities of multiple positions at one time.
Mrs Matthews has been involved with the Garden since its establishment in 1992.
“When I started I was a keen gardener and I thought of it as a horticultural thing, as it developed and the community was so supportive and we moved on to all the awards and we had international people arriving, it’s been magnificent and it really opened my eyes,” she said.
“It’s not just a horticultural thing, it’s a community thing and the group are wonderful and very supportive towards each other.”
In the years since, she has worked alongside the volunteer group ‘Friends of the Garden’ with a shovel and rake in hand while also taking on a major role covering administrative responsibilities.
Mrs Matthews was key to establishing a working relationship with the original Morwell City Council (now Latrobe City Council) as well as the Rose Society of Victoria.
Mrs Matthews’ volunteering efforts also saw her canvassing donations, managing contributions from individuals and district organisations whose generous support has enabled the creation and on-going maintenance of the garden.
Despite working behind the scenes, Mrs Matthews made a significant contribution by way of her leadership, expertise in all aspects of rose propagation, presentation and promotion of the garden.
The Friends of the Morwell Rose Garden said they have a lasting respect for Mrs Matthews’ friendship and will continue to share with her the many outings, educational evenings, weekly maintenance, pruning weekends and annual dinners.