Vale Edgar Norman ‘Ben’ Swane AM
On behalf of the Board and the industry, we have been saddened to hear the news of the passing of industry legend Ben Swane on Wednesday 15 January.
Born 17 November 1927, Ben who recently celebrated his 92nd birthday is said to have found a passion for plants during his high school years. He attended Newington College (1941-44) where he was a rower and member of the choir.
The Swane’s nursery business was started by Ben’s father Ted in 1919. In 1958, Ben and his siblings became shareholders of Swane Bros. Pty Ltd to manage the business. In 1965, Ben was responsible for planning and constructing a new nursery at Dural. Here, in co-operation with Valerie, Ben maintained Swane’s as a leading Australian nursery. Ben was known as “gardening royalty” and a true legend of the nursery and garden industry.
He was an adviser, broadcaster and educator and excelled at rose breeding also being an exporter. He received many accolades throughout his career, as a passionate and dedicated horticulturalist including in November 2005, the prestigious Graham Gregory Medal for outstanding contribution to the Australian horticultural industry, and in 2011, as a Member of the Order of Australia.
He served on both the State and National industry associations Boards and was President of Nursery & Garden Industry Australia in 1986 and awarded Life Membership (then Nursery Industry Association of Australia) in 1989. He was also selected as Australian Nurseryman of the year in 1980.
In addition to Ben’s lifelong involvement in the nursery industry, he took a leading role in many community activities. His work with Rotary was recognised with the Award of the Paul Harris Fellowship for services. Other community involvements included the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, Boy Scouts and the Bush Fire Brigade, which reflected his genuine interest in community activities and people.
Ben Swane is survived by Sue, children Robert, Philip, Elizabeth and Marianne and their families.
May he rest in peace.
A service will be held in honour of Ben on Friday 24 January 2020at 11am at theMagnolia Chapel,Macquarie Park Cemetery,Corner Delhi Road & Plassey Road, Macquarie Park, Sydney, NSW.