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Meet: Maria Hitchcock OAM

Maria Hitchcock's work on the Wattle Emblem campaign in 1986 earned her the title 'The Wattle Lady'. Now, she sells rare and endangered native species to continue her ongoing endeavour to make people aware of the value of our indigenous flora

Where does your passion for plants come from?

I was a migrant child. After we left Greta Camp in 1952, we rented a house at Woy Woy Bay. Between the ages of five and seven, I roamed the bush with other children in the village. I think that's what instilled my curiosity and love for native plants.

Why do you find native plants fascinating?

Australia is blessed with a unique diversity of flora and thankfully a wonderful collection of national parks. I became a bushwalker in 1970 and enjoyed being among the gum trees. After we moved to Armidale in 1974, I was introduced to native plant propagation and was hooked. Someone gave me two correas and so began a love affair with correas that continues to this day.

Can you tell us more about the name, 'The Wattle Lady'?

I've always been attracted to wattles in the bush as they add that splash of living sunshine in spring. When I began the Wattle Emblem Campaign in 1986, I learnt about the long-forgotten history of the Wattle Day movement and am happy to have revived it along with the successful gazettal of the Emblem in 1988 and Wattle Day in 1992.

Visit to find out more about Maria and purchase native plants.

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