The Founding Benefactor
George Hermon Slade AM
14 July 1910 – 26 June 2002
Hermon enjoyed a life-long fascination with the structure of things. The salt water washing over the rocks at Manly Cove in front of the family home ignited his early childhood interest in finding and exploring the many exciting creatures and plants which found their natural home and habitat there.
The biological observations led to chemical interest and during his early commercial post university career he developed rapidly with his brother Russell an industrial chemical company called Polymer Corporation, which was actively engaged in research and development, with industrial plants in Australia and New Zealand.
The beauty and structure of orchids held special fascination for Hermon and he found time to assist in the establishment of various voluntary Australian orchid societies and publications, as editor and contributor. He assisted in the early establishment of a number of Biological Foundations in Australia and the South-West Pacific. One had a specific aim of assisting new varieties of food production whilst others aimed at preserving bio-diversity whilst enhancing scientific knowledge so as to provide benefit for the well being of the local communities, the region and the international community.
Dendrobium sladei, an orchid discovered by Hermon Slade in Vanuatu (Photo courtesy W H Bandisch)
Following retirement, Hermon moved to Papua New Guinea and then to Vanuatu, where he was able to continue his special interest and hobby in collecting and growing orchids. Whilst there, he assisted in the undertaking of various scientifically important field trips and subsequent publications undertaken by international researchers.
Hermon found success in life by following his guiding principle: “If there is a way better than another, it is the way of nature.”
A symbiotic relationship with science and nature guided Hermon’s philanthropic philosophy leading to his generous benefaction of this Foundation, which he established in order to provide support for the harmony of mankind with the Earth through the study and application of the natural sciences.
Hermon was awarded the Veitch Gold Medal for contributions to Horticulture from The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, appointed a Distinguished Fellow of the University of Sydney and received the award approved by the Queen as a Member of the Order of Australia..