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The passing of Leonard (Lennie) Field Aged 88 years

 The passing of Leonard (Lennie) Field Aged 88 years



      Tribute to Len Field (Lenny)

To those that dont  know me, i am Tony Clarke ,President of ANOS Newcastle and long time friend of Lennys.

  We have searched for Lens history with this organisation and are not sure of when he joined etc, i know that when i started visiting Bill Murdoch (C1980)to inquire about native orchids that he mentioned Lens name to me and that i should contact him .

I joined the group soon after but couldnt attend meetings as i had just started working at Myuna colliery and was on shift work.

I first met Len at our display with the SGAP at their spring show at the YWCA  IN Dawson Street Cooks hill in 1984.

Len had brought in some Phaius tancervilliae plants in flower and i was very impressed with them.

I believe Len had been awarded Life Membership by this time.

Over the years Len showed his dedication to this organisation time and time again.

He was enthusiastic in evry new venture that we enterd into, whenever a show of hands was needed to carry out a task ,Len would be one of,if not the first, to volounteer.

About 16 years ago Len and Bernice Burgess  initiated a study of the orchids of the Hunter Wetlands and in particular Ash island, this proved to be quite popular with our members as we surveyed the is;land for native orchids.

Lens dedication to our group helped it thrive and we are indebted to him for his service.

About 15 years ago Len moved to Albury with Bernice joining Wangarrata and Albury Wodonga Orchid societys , and later,ANOS Vic.

This opened another new orchid field up for Len and Bernice as they joined ANOS Vic.

On trips surveying terrestial orchids.

As well as spreading the joy of Dendrobium speciosums to the locals Len became close friends with Allan Plidna and John and Chris Ashley who were speciosum specialists themselves.    

                                           Some anecdotes of my time with Lenny.

       The Glasshouse-  Len acquired glazing bars and the glass to make a glass house and with the asssistance of his sons Ken and Peter created a magnificent structure , for heating, Len built a donkey boiler which was fueled by wood.

This worked quite well , however one day when Len and family were out the the header tank ran dry by some malfunction.

This resulted in the system overheating and catching alight, destroying the glass house and the plants.

Len would often recall this with humour and we all would laugh about it.

  Condys crystals- Len was advised by ted Walmsly that he used Condys crystals (pottasium permanganate) on his orchids with great success,unfortunately Ted didnt tell Len the rate to use.

Lenny prepared his mixing tank and threw in a few handfuls of Condys, plus one for the pot, (the proper rate for 200 litres is about half a teaspoon) and pumped it over his speciosum collection.

A week later he phoned me, in great distress, to come and look at his plants,most of those with good root systems had purple leaves!

Upon dissecting some plants  you could see that the internal tissues were even purple.

By dividing some of the badly affected plants he managed to save some and the plants with poor roots were ok after rinsing in water.

BROKEN BACK- Len loved exploring the Broken Back range , every year i would take a week off work in the last week of september and Len and I –and others from time to time would spend the day up the Broken Back,Corribare ,Congewai,Paynes Crossing ,Yengo .

Len knew the area well as he had spent time with Margs father when he was timbergetting.

Len named most rocks that speciosums grew on, eg, upon entering the ridge of B.B. from Polkolbin there is a large sandstone peak that he named The Castle, we would usually stop here for morning tea.

By the time Len had got his thermos and bikkys out i would have finished mine so the i would have to help him with his.

At first he took exception but it wasnt long before he brought extra cake or bikkys for me, how generous

Lenny was! Lenny was a closet sci fi fan and he named an area, where a lot of speciosums grew at the south western escarpment, which overlooked Wollombi, STAR GATE which was abbreviated to S.G. Another rock we regularly visited was Amy,s Rock where Neil had found a particularly nice speciosum which he named after his daughter.

One sunny ,warm day i got out of the car first and was just about to step into the bush when Lenny called out ‘DONT MOVE! Upon looking closer i was just about to step onto a juvenile brown snake.

Upon walking up the steep slope to get to Amys rock Lenny called out againDONT MOVE! And there,again was another juvenile brown snake. 

Another day we were walking on a sloping rock that dropped off abruptly for about 50 feet, when Len stumbled and started rolling uncontrollobly towards the cliff yelling out in pain every time he hit a rock.

I ran and managed to catch him before the cliff.

For many years after, Lenny would recall that day and say “remember the day you saved from going  over the cliff?” , i would reply, “remeber the day when you saved me twice from the brown snakes?!”.

I have been back to the Broken Back a few times  and look for the places that Len named, and if i ever feel i need to be close to Len again,then that is the place i will go.

Goodbye old mate and thank you for your friendship and service to ANOS Newcastle


Tony Clarke


 Wayne's time with Len.

This is a 2 trolley load of Dendrobium speciosum I purchased from Lennie way back in 2004.

Len was winding back his collection and I flew to newcastle and was picked up by Henk van den Berg at the airport.

I chose two trolley loads to be freighted back to Melbourne and that was the start of my speciosum breeding program.


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