About the CSSA
'More than just a garden club'!
The Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia Inc (CSSA) is the oldest Cactus and Succulent Society in Australia, established in Melbourne in 1927.
Our Society is a fun and friendly organisation that prides itself on having members from all walks of life and of all ages, whether a botanist or home gardener.
The Society holds monthly gatherings where members have the opportunity to view expert growers’ collections and seek their professional advice. Or perhaps just join to receive our fantastic full colour magazine as many people do.
The CSSA's Cacti and Succulents Show is an annual Spring event, consisting of a large display area with decorative and rare plants. This is complemented by unrivaled plant competitions as well as sales of a huge variety of cacti and succulent plants.
The Society also aims to advance the understanding and appreciation of cacti and succulents worldwide. Through education and scientific study we encourage conservation through cultivation. Similar societies are located Australia wide, in most capital cities and some country areas (see the Helpful Links page for more information).
CSSA Committee and Office-bearers
Professor Tim Entwisle
President: Peter Breyley
Vice President: John Roewer
Secretary: Melissa Jackson
Librarian: Melissa Jackson
Membership Coordinator: Peter Breyley
'The Spine & Spinette' Magazine Team: Editor John Roewer & Peter Breyley
Website Coordinator: Peter Breyley (Updates on the way! Stay Tuned)
Webmaster: Peter Breyley & Melissa Jackson
Emails/Digital Correspondence: (CSSA Committee)
Videos/YouTube Channel: Paul Schreurs
'Plant of the Month' Competition Coordinator: Paul Schreurs
Social Media Team: Karen Hartfree and Stephen Dair
Meet our Patron
Professor Tim Entwisle
Tim was born in Nhill back in the 60s. He is now a botanist, scientific communicator and botanic gardens director. He took up the role of Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens in March 2013, following two years in a senior role at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and eight years as Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney.
Tim is an expert in freshwater algae but has a broad interest in plants generally, including of course cacti and succulents. He was Patron of the NSW Cactus and Succulent Society between 2004 and 2011, and became our Patron in 2014.
Tim is a regular contributor to ABC and other radio and writes for science, nature and garden magazines. He is active on social media, including his popular Talkingplants blog.
Meet the CSSA Committee
Peter grew up in Melbourne's Southeast after moving from Sydney at two. He's worked with succulent plants since age 15, and thanks one of his first holiday jobs for introducing him to this fascinating area of the plant kingdom!
Now in his 30's, with a couple of kids and a business in the industry, that passion has endured - and he's rarely seen without a prickly plant (or his beloved Telecaster) in hand.
After serving on the CSSA Committee for a few years and taking on the role of membership coordinator in 2019 he has served as President since July of 2020.
Like many other members, he first came for the plants but stayed for the warm and eclectic community that is the CSSA, the tales, experiences, and the enduring passion and connections formed around this ever-fascinating hobby!
Editor of 'The Spine'
John grew up in Wodonga in Northeast Victoria before relocating to Melbourne in 1970 to find work. He has grown succulents from childhood, but before joining the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia in 2011, had lived in his own little gardening bubble.
John is now a current Committee member and is involved in the production of the CSSA publications, The Spine and Spinette, as well as assisting with the general operations of the CSSA and the annual Spring show.
John took on the role of Vice President in March of 2022, and we're honoured to have him represent the CSSA as he connects with like-minded growers all over!
Melissa has been a member of the CSSA since 2008. Apart from recently joining the Committee to serve as Secretary, she has been actively involved with our Annual Show, organising the sales section since 2012. Her interest in succulents is mainly those from Southern Africa such as Haworthia, Gasteria and a variety of Mesembs.
Apart from spending time with her plant collection, Melissa loves her job teaching statistics, and coordinating animal and human research ethics, plus spending time with her dachshunds, and travelling to exotic plant habitats (when we are not locked down by a pandemic)!
Robert 'Bob' Mitchell
(Bio on the way!)
Paul has a passion for growing cacti which started at the age of 15. A vegetable grower by trade, Paul has always found room on his farm to grow cacti with his main focus on Echinopsis. Joining the CSSA in 2011, Paul has managed the society’s YouTube channel and has recently joined committee.
He looks forward to ensuring the CSSA meets the needs of its members and continues to attract more members to this fascinating and addictive hobby.
(Bio on the way!)