We hoped you enjoyed the 26th AABC National Bonsai Convention hosted by Canberra Bonsai Society Inc, Rydges Lakeside Convention Centre, Canberra, 17-20 May 2013.

The Australian Journey

Under the theme of "The Australian Journey" the convention reviewed key people, events, ideas and influences that have shaped the growth of Australia’s bonsai community and culture to date, and current trends and possible future directions for bonsai practice in Australia. Demonstrations reflected traditional influences from China and Japan, new approaches inspired by the Australian landscape and re-creating an established bonsai, symbolising the journey we all go through as we learn more about the art of bonsai.

Roger Hnatiuk was the first and last presenter of the convention. In his opening talk, Roger talked about the origins and inspirations for penjing and bonsai, its earliest introduction to the Western world, including Australia, and the explosion of interest after World War ll. In his closing presentation, Roger looked at current bonsai practice in Australia and made three predictions for the future 
of the Australian Journey, viz: 

* first prediction for the future is that the interest in the use of Australian species as bonsai will continue to grow

* second prediction is that there will not be one ‘style’ for these native trees as bonsai, and the

* third prediction for the future of the Australian Journey will be that there will be more artistic experimentation with bonsai

Roger’s talk was complemented by the splendid timeline put together by Jennifer Mottlee to capture the growth and development of bonsai practice in Australia. The timeline included dates for club formation and many other important events and stories from a number of clubs about their foundation. Jennifer was delighted to receive additions and changes from many at the convention.

Averil Stanley worked on two trees, a juniper and a pine, to represent Chinese and Japanese approaches to styling. Averil ran out of time to work on the Casuarina ‘native style’, but has promised to put photos on line in the future. The juniper and pine came out beautifully so we are all looking forward to the Casuarina.

Ryan Neil worked on three trees: a juniper, a scots pine and a red pine. He kept up an amazing commentary, sharing a lot of technical information about the trees he was working on while also sharing his experiences in Japan and the philosophy and cultural traditions underpinning the Japanese approach to bonsai. Ryan also urged us to study our native plants, appreciate their growth habits and learn to reflect those in our native bonsai. He enjoyed the forms of the native plants he saw in his scenic drive from Sydney to Canberra via Kangaroo Valley. The red pine Ryan worked on belongs to the National Bosai and Penjing Collection of Australia so we will all be able to enjoy it in the future. This tree was originally styled by John Naka in the mid-1970s so it is wonderful to have this piece of Australian bonsai history in the NBPCA

Andrew Ward delighted the audience in sharing his personal bonsai journey and produced an innovative and inspirational bonsai landscape; Leigh Taafe also shared his bonsai journey as he took a juniper on a journey from a pleasant bonsai to a tree with a much more interesting story to tell. Leigh has posted photos of the finished tree on Ausbonsai.

Demonstrations reflected traditional influences from China and Japan, new approaches inspired by the Australian landscape and re-creating an established bonsai, symbolising the journey we all go through as we learn more about the art of bonsai. 


This website now provides photo galleries of the bonsai exhibition and activities (demonstrations etc) for those that could not make the Convention and as a reminder of how excellent this weekend was for those that attended.


The next Convention is planned for the 21-24th of AUGUST 2014 on the Gold Coast, Queensland. It is a combined AABC and Bonsai Clubs International (BCI) convention.

It is titled "Sunrise on Australian Bonsai" and will be held at QT Gold Coast Hotel, 7 Elkhorn Street, Surfers Paradise, from 21 - 24 August, 2014.

The International headliner demonstrators are Mr. Zhao Qingquan from China and Mr Shinichi Nakajima from Japan. Other international demonstrators supporting the program are Ms. Chen Wenjuan from China, Mr. Budi Sulistyo from Indonesia, Mr. Nikunj Parekh and Mrs. Jyoti Parekh from India.

The Australian demonstrators are Tony Bebb from Queensland, Chris Di Nola from New South Wales and Joe Morgan-Payler from Victoria.

See the following link for more information


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