About the Foundation

Background of the Foundation

In the early 1960s a group of benefactors established the New Guinea Biological Foundation and invested trust funds in a cocoa plantation at Arawa, Bougainville. This foundation funded a variety of projects aimed at the promotion, advancement and study of biological science in all its branches. Later, in 1985, another foundation was formed in addition to the New Guinea Biological Foundation, to broaden the geographic location of projects to Australia and other countries in the southwest Pacific.

In 2000, the Australia and Pacific Science Foundation was established to sponsor activities within Australia and managed by Australian entities. In 2005 sponsorship was extended to include projects with components within the south west Pacific, managed by Australian institutions or other entities within those countries.

Carnivorous plants such as the pitcher plants are universally fascinating and highly sought after. This research aims at studying the evolution, ecology an conservation of the Nepenthes genus in South East Asia and the South Pacific.

What We Do

In seeking to achieve its aims, The Australia & Pacific Science Foundation provides support, on a competitive basis, for the following activities:

The top priority is to encourage high quality research by scientists in Australian national or state institutions, and similar institutions in other countries of the South West Pacific.
Occasional support may also be given to such activities as training, publications or conferences.
The Foundation seeks to complement, rather than compete with, other funding bodies. Experience has shown that modest support can be particularly effective if used as “seed money” to initiate projects, which may subsequently expand and attract major funding from other sources. Foundation grants have also supported specific components of large projects financed primarily by other agencies.

The Foundation is managed by a Board of Trustees which has appointed a Research Committee to recommend to it the manner in which the income of the Trust fund might appropriately be applied in accordance with the aims of the Foundation.

The Founding Benefactors

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..

“If there is a way better than another, it is the way of nature.”

– Hermon Slade

Francis Royden McKillop
17 October 1915 – 2 July 1979

AUSTRALIAN-BORN orchid collector and philanthropist Francis Royden “Kip” McKillop thought differently from his contemporaries and looked at his field with innovative eyes.

He was fired by an original vision for tropical plants. He urged latter-day European breeders of New World staple crops such as potato to develop new varieties in their natural tropical climates because the rotation and yield potential was greater there.

He took popular tropical fruits from South-East Asia such as mangoes, rambutan and durian and bred better varieties on his plantations in New Guinea, resulting in a stronger import market later in Australia. With his wife Mary, Kip established the largest private orchid collection in the southern hemisphere, numbering about 36,000 plants.

And he collaborated in the founding of the “New Guinea Biological Foundation”, which later became the “Australia & Pacific Science Foundation”. His dream combined with the financial muscle of investor and philanthropist Stanley Smith, when they met at the World Orchid Conference in Singapore in 1962.

The duo became a quartet shortly afterwards when brothers George Hermon and William Russell Slade, who shared the same interests and vision, joined McKillop and Smith.

Kip had a guiding principle, not uncommon in his generation: That the quality of the goal is paramount and that is what should inspire people; by whom and how it is achieved is irrelevant. Kip McKillop was born into a third-generation grazier family that pioneered the central west of NSW.

He served in New Guinea during World War ll and this contact with the tropics inspired him to buy into the plantation industry there. From his Arawa plantation in Bougainville he revolutionised the production of premium quality cocoa and copra in that country. Kip, Mary, and three of their children moved to Brazil in 1974 where he continued his pioneering work in tropical agriculture.

William Russell Slade AM
28 December 1913 – 16 January 2003

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