About the CSSA

'More than just a garden club'!

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.
We have a lot to offer.

The Society holds monthly meetings 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 journal 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.

The Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia Inc (CSSA) is the oldest Cactus and Succulent Society in Australia, established in Melbourne in 1927. 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

Secretary: Melissa Jackson

Treasurer: Lynden Bartlett


General Committee Members:

John Roewer

Bob Mitchell

Paul Schreurs

Dani Basso

Cori White

Matt Jakon

Non-Committee Positions

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 Administration: 

Cori White (Social Media Coordinator)

Matt Jakon

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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 our Patron

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Peter Breyley


     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 successful business in the industry, that passion has endured, and he's rarely seen without a prickly plant (or his beloved Telecaster) in hand.

     Peter has served on the committee for a number of years, taking on the role of President in July of 2020. He's grateful to be involved in all-things-behind-the-scenes at the CSSA, and to be part of such a historic and invaluable resource to growers around Australia and beyond.

Meet the CSSA Committee


Melissa Jackson


     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 degree students all about horses and statistics, plus spending time with her dachshunds, and travelling to exotic plant habitats (when we are not locked down by a pandemic)!


John Roewer

General Committee 
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.

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Robert 'Bob' Mitchell

General Committee

(Bio on the way!)


Paul Schreurs

General Committee
P.O.T.M. Coordinator
CSSA Videographer

     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.


Dani Basso

General Committee

(Bio on the way!)

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Cori White

General Committee

Social Media Coordinator

    Cori has been growing true xerophites for over a decade now,  his growing style is one that aims to harness the resilience of natural grown plants whilst emphasising the perks of cultivation. 

    His YouTube channel [87walker] has over 100 cactus related videos showcasing his interests in grafting, seed raising and general cacti care.

    Cori is now heading the Social Media Working Group where work is being done not only to spread the word about the CSSA, but offer handy tips and resources to all those who gather around these fascinating plants!

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Matt Jakon

General Committee

Matt began collecting cacti at 12 years old, he was gifted his first few plants from his green thumbed Mum. He has been around plants his whole life, with professional gardener parents and nursery worker grandparents.


After starting his first job at Bunnings, he brought home a small Mammillaria. This has now snowballed into hundreds of plants over the years! Matt is now a qualified electrician but hopes one day he can work with plants.