email David Banks:

The Australian Orchid Review was Australia’s Largest Orchid Periodical and one of the worlds most respected and popular full-colour orchid journals. It commenced publication in 1936 and was instrumental in promoting orchids and servicing the Australian orchid community for the next 84 years.

David Banks was the Editor of the Australian Orchid Review from 1999 to 2020, becoming its seventh and final Editor. David was also Editor of The Orchadian (the journal of the Australasian Native Orchid Society) from 1996-2002.

Editors of the Australian Orchid Review (AOR)
G. Hermon Slade        1936-1939
Percy A. Gilbert          1939-1945
William Worth             1945-1949
Percy A. Gilbert          1950-1957
H. James Lawler         1957-1959
G. Hermon Slade         1959-1964
Ronald D. Kerr             1964-1987
David R. Wallace         1988-1998
David P. Banks             1999-2020

The AOR was an A4 sized glossy full-colour 68 page magazine published bi-monthly featuring the latest in a wide array of exotic and indigenous orchids, both species and hybrids.

EDITORIAL from Final Issue (December 2019 – January 2020)

Volume 84, Number 6

Goodbye from the Editor’s Desk….   

All good things must come to an end. Sadly, this is the last issue of the Australian Orchid Review.

Volume 1, Number 1, of the AOR was published in January 1936, and subsequently ran for 84 years. I became Editor of the AOR towards the end of 1999, and have edited, compiled and produced 20 volumes, some 120 issues. Countless new Australian orchid species have been formally described in these pages, which has assisted with their conservation and management. I became a co-owner of the AOR in 2010 with Caitlin Hoolahan and established Hills Orchid Publishing.

We have been aware for some time, that the popularity of printed specialist magazines are on the decline. We have maintained the highest standard of accurate editorial content, colour photography, with archival paper and the highest quality gloss printing process. It wasn’t cheap, but we produced a sparkling product. The number of orchid nurseries in Australia is sadly sharply in decline. In fact, many “nurseries” are really backyard growers who simply sell their excess stock. Paid advertising helps keep subscription rates down. Sadly, our advertising has dropped as many businesses have downsized or stopped trading. We also know the orchid fraternity in Australia is getting older, and there are not as many younger people taking their places. Younger people generally do not subscribe to magazines. They are happy to get instant information on the Internet, or get plenty of “likes” on various specialised social media pages and platforms.

Most want things instantly. They want that flowering orchid on display, not a seedling or division that may take a year or two to bloom. You can buy an award quality Phalaenopsis in bloom, in a range of colours, at most big box stores, and the quality is such they could probably win Grand Champion at your local orchid show, all for less than $30. Do we want disposable orchids or the joy of nurturing, cultivating and blooming them?

We can all Google a plants scientific name, but how many of the images are of the requested plant? How much of that on-line information is correct?  How do you know which photo matches what correct name? I’m saddened by the fact that many orchid growers appear to have lost their attention to detail and no longer appear to be concerned with getting correct information or accurate names for their orchids or simply learning more about this wonderful and specialised group of plants. Many don’t want to wait two months for their orchid magazine to appear in the post.

We have made this decision, as quite frankly, I no longer believe there is enough support or interest in our product. Sadly, I don’t think the AOR will be missed. There certainly has been very little support in recent times from orchid societies and their prominent members. Many have happily taken complimentary copies of the AOR off my hands at various orchid society meetings, shows, fairs and conferences, promised to subscribe, but never have. I do see the subscribers list! Anyhow, best to finish on our own terms.

I wish to thank our loyal subscribers and advertisers, who have supported the Australian Orchid Review over many years. Subscribers may claim a rebate on their outstanding subscription balance. Thank you to the various authors and photographers who have made significant contributions. All this work is part of Australian orchid history and is archived. I especially wish to thank my co-owner Caitlin for the magnificent job she has done with administrative matters and much behind-the-scenes work with subscribers and advertisers. Caitlin is not an “orchid person” yet has supported and encouraged me over the past decade or so. Nadalie (from Red Diamond Design) has done a sterling and very professional job as our typesetter and graphic designer for the past ten years and has been my conscience in meeting printing deadlines. I will miss working with these two fine ladies.

For the time being, we will maintain our Facebook page, as well as our website, for the sale of books and back issues. We are keeping the name Australian Orchid Review as well as Hills Orchid Publishing, as we intend publishing a number of new limited print run texts on orchids and other collectable plants over the next decade.

I wish you all good health and continuing joy with your orchids.

David P. Banks

December 2019

Australian Orchid Review