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The 2nd Victorian Botany Workshop will run this October in the Grampians region. This workshop is suited to early career botanists/ecologists, student botanists/ecologists or others who wish to further their skills in field botany and plant identification. The workshop offers an opportunity to work closely with a group of industry senior botanists who have extensive experience with the survey and identification of Victoria’s vascular and non-vascular flora.

Participants will:

  • gain skills in a range of field- and lab-based plant identification methods;
  • identify vegetation types and boundaries;
  • hear from experts on the flora of Victoria;
  • discover and learn how to use resources for ID; and
  • develop networks within the botany industry.

Base location: Halls Gap, Victoria

Dates: 18th–21st October 2019

Places: 46 (30 full registrations, 16 tertiary-student registrations)

Cost*: $369 full, $297 student (GST inclusive)  


Workshop leaders

Dr Matt Dell has worked as a consultant botanist for over 15 years and has 24 years of other experience in botany. He has studied associations of vascular and non-vascular plants in Victoria and Tasmania. Matt has led botanical surveys for major projects in Victoria and undertaken surveys over most parts of the state, including the Grampians.

Dr Marianne Worley is a bryologist and ecologist who has undertaken extensive research on the mosses and liverworts of rainforest and other vegetation in south-eastern Australia. She has studied the impacts of fire on bryophytes including rare species. Marianne was a leader at the 2018 Britannia Creek bryophyte workshop and will guide activities on bryophytes in the Grampians.

David Cameron is a leading authority on the flora of Victoria who specialises in rainforest ecology and classification, while working extensively in other areas of botany. He has been professionally employed as a botanist for more than 35 years during which time he has led the assessment of classifying Victoria’s rare and threatened species. David has also undertaken ethnobotanical studies in the Philippines.  

Geoff Carr is a taxonomist and plant ecologist with a consulting career spanning 40 years. He is an authority on the taxonomy of orchids, lilies (Dianella) and Correa amongst other plant groups. Geoff is also one of Victoria’s leading weed ecologists with an exhaustive knowledge on related matters. He has described and named a number of plant species, in particular species of Caladenia (spider-orchid).

Judy Downe has worked as a field botanist for the Victorian Government for a number of years, in various capacities including plant identification, vegetation surveys, mapping, condition assessments and preparing Action Statements. She has worked in many vegetation types including the Gippsland forests, heathlands, alpine, coastal and semi-arid Mallee vegetation, as well as the unique flora of the Grampians region.

Steve Mueck has worked as a government and private sector consultant botanist for over 30 years. Over this time he has undertaken extensive surveys throughout south-eastern Australia, including detailed surveys in the Central Highlands of Victoria. Steve has undertaken research on age class structure of understorey shrubs and threatened plant ecology, amongst other studies. Steve is also an expert on grassland ecology and management.

Workshop format
The workshop will include two days of field surveys at 2–3 sites representing different vegetation types. Participants will contribute to the collection of floristic data using a number of survey techniques while learning identification characters of different plant groups. There will be opportunity during evenings to use microscopes and reference material, to further skills in laboratory techniques. Workshop leaders will give short presentations, run focus activities with smaller groups and demonstrate methods in field botany. The workshop will predominantly deal with plant classification and identification with some additional content on ecology and vegetation typology. Day trips will depart around 8 am each day and return mid-afternoon. A timetable will be provided by email prior to the workshop.         


Tertiary research students are invited to give a 10–15 minute talk on their plant research topic. If you would like to give a talk then please email admin@vicbotany.com.au once you have registered to attend. This is an opportunity to further develop your presentation and science communication skills, in a relaxed environment amongst peers. You can also develop further networks and get valuable feedback on your research.

More information:

Equipment – a detailed list of equipment recommended for participants to bring will be provided upon registration.

Travel and access: Transport will be by minibus (departure location at public transport in outer eastern Melbourne; supplied following registration). Fieldwork will be undertaken within a short walking distance of roads, on low to moderate difficulty walking trails. Some low difficulty off-trail access will be required on foot for surveys.    

Luggage – There is a luggage limit of one large bag (e.g. large backpack) and one standard carry-on size bag (56cm x 36cm x 23cm). Participants can also bring a laptop, small backpack or similar to carry on the bus. A small backpack is recommended for day trips.

Food - The event is not catered (however tea and coffee provided) and participants are required to provide their own food. Plan for meals which can be easily prepared and eaten within 0.5 hr lunch and 1.5 hr dinner. Refrigerators will be available for drinks and some other items. There is a communal kitchen for participant use. Participants should bring a container for cut-lunch and drink bottle to take into the field. It is best to bring all or most of your food with you. Your food for 2.5 days will need to fit in your luggage limit. Take away and supermarket food is also available to buy in Halls Gap (walking distance). There will be a little time available after arriving to purchase items from town.     

Accommodation - Rooms are provide with shared bunk rooms; 2–4 people per room. Linen is provided. Bathroom facilities are shared. The workshop has exclusive use of the Grampians Eco YHA for the duration of the workshop.     

Medical considerations: Participants must ensure that they bring their personal medication (e.g. asthma treatment) or other personal medical equipment needed for the duration of the workshop. Basic first aid kits will be held by the workshop at all times e.g. bandages, band aids.

Following registration, participants will be asked to share information with the workshop organiser about allergies or any other relevant medical condition which should be considered during the workshop. This will assist mitigating incidents (e.g. by separate food storage) and, if appropriate, communication to other workshop participants.

Workshop registrants must be over 18 years old. Alcohol is permitted at dinner and during evening activities. The workshop does not supply alcohol. Intoxication or disorderly / offensive behaviour of any kind is not tolerated by management. Complaints will be taken seriously and may result in perpetrators being evicted at their own expense. The workshop will pursue costs for Intentional damage to accommodation facilities or vehicles by registrants.

Health and Safety: It is important that participants are aware of health and safety considerations for themselves and others.  All participants will undertake a short induction and sign on to the terms of a safety plan presented at the start of the workshop.

*Payment must be made via Register Now payment options. Cost includes accommodation, workshop activities and return bus travel from Melbourne’s east (location to be provided at public transport point). Costs are not refundable within 7 days prior to or at any stage following 17th Oct 2019. Cost includes GST. Credit card fees on payment are additional to registration fees.

Workshop contact: Matt Dell - admin@vicbotany.com.au



Common questions  

Can I bring my own car?
Is it preferred that participants do not bring their car and travel to and from the workshop by bus provided. If there are exceptional circumstances (e.g. participant lives near the Grampians) then registrants should contact the workshop coordinator prior to registration to discuss alternative arrangements. Participants will not be able to drive their car to field sites from the accommodation.

Is there somewhere to leave my car at the bus departure point in Melbourne?
The bus will depart from within a short walk to a train station. This is intended to allow participants to organise public transport or to get a lift by car to the busses. Participants can choose to leave their car near the bus departure point at their own risk.

What if I need to leave early?
Participants should plan to avoid early departure under normal circumstances. If you need to leave early you can do so using your own travel arrangements. Workshop cost will be the same regardless of the duration of your stay.  

Can I have my own room?
Bunk room boarding arrangements will be organised between participants or into separate male and female rooms as required. If you would like your own room, we will try to accommodate you if possible and fair for other guests however spaces are limited.  

Can I arrange to share a room with my friends? Yes. Rooms will have 2-4 participants in each. If you are registering alone, there will be opportunity to organise suitable boarding arrangements with other participants.

What gear should I bring? A detailed list of recommended equipment / clothing will be provided following registration.     

How fit do I need to be? Participants should be able to access survey sites on foot over moderately undulating ground e.g. amongst grass tussocks. Survey sites will be within 500 m of vehicles. Day surveys will run for about six hours with a lunch break. Most of the survey activities will be within a localised area with opportunity to rest. Evening activities are mostly seated and within the accommodation building. A short bushwalk to observe different vegetation types may be undertaken on one of the days.    

Can I bring ID books? The workshop will use some reference material for plant identification. You are able to bring your own references at your own risk and within your luggage limit. There will be mobile connectivity for use of online resources such as the online Flora of Victoria.   

Is there internet? There is good mobile reception in Halls Gap. The accommodation has wifi available.

What time will the bus return to Melbourne?
It is intended that the bus will return to Melbourne public transport by 5pm on the Monday.

What if the event is booked out?
If workshop registration is full, you can contact
admin@vicbotany.com.au to go on a waiting list in case there is a cancellation. The waiting list will be made in order of enquiry.  

Grampians Eco YHA are not involved with the organisation of this event so please do not contact them directly. The workshop will occupy the entire facility and all workshop matters including accommodation should be directed to the above email.

Management reserves the right to cancel the workshop in the event of circumstances outside of the control of the workshop manager. A full refund and explanation of circumstances would be given should management cancel the event.