The Trustee for the Diggers Foundation (Charity ABN 57948503936) is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. For further information visit www.acnc.vic.gov.au
Clive Blazey (Chair)
Clive and Penny Blazey founded The Diggers Club 40 years ago in 1978, and subsequently established The Diggers Foundation in 2011. Clive is the author of 8 gardening books and was instrumental in achieving 5 awards for The Diggers Club for the preservation of heirloom vegetable seeds.
Together Clive and Penny worked to ensure Heronswood was listed on the Historic Buildings Register and that family-owned properties Heronswood and the Garden of St Erth, along with The Diggers Club business, were gifted by the Blazey family to The Diggers Foundation. This legacy ensures the preservation of and permanent public access to these historic properties. Under Clive’s guidance both gardens feature in books referencing the world’s finest gardens and are the only organically-certified gardens open to the public in Australia.
Clive is a self-taught passionate gardener and current Diggers Club magazine editor who campaigns against corporate control of our seeds via seed patents, monoculture agriculture and its impacts on our soils, our climate and health.
Stephen has held leadership roles in botanic gardens in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and was director of the Botanic Gardens of South Australia until 2016.
Stephen fell in love with the rich diversity of plants and the intimate connections between ecology and horticulture and found his vocation in botanical gardens. He moved to Bath University to study ecological approaches to amenity horticulture from the English landscape garden to contemporary ecological gardens. Since then he has held leadership roles in botanic gardens in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and was director of the Botanic Gardens of South Australia until May 2016. In his holidays and through his work he has had the opportunity to explore the world’s flora from our home in Australia, to the Ruwenzoris (‘The Mountains of the Moon’) in Uganda and the Amazonian rainforests of Guyana.
Stephen found the Diggers Club community committed to his own passions for learning about plants and to growing more sustainable gardens, communities and environments. His involvement reflects his belief in the importance of Diggers as a learning organisation working with seeds, plants, gardens and gardeners for our well being and our future.
Penny is a graduate of anthropology and history who has enriched her life by serving others. She was inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2005, served on her local Mornington Peninsula Council, pushed for the Mornington Peninsula to become Australia’s first UNESCO-recognised urban biosphere and was President of the local branch of the National Trust.
Penny spent fifteen years as a Probation Officer as well as playing her part in the family business and raising her family. A passionate environmentalist, she enjoys retreating to the bush and continually crusades to preserve the wilderness and promote sustainability.
Jolyon (Jol) Blazey
Jol is an IT Manager who grew up around plants and gardens. At school and uni Jol spent holidays working with Clive Blazey and David Pomare in the Heronswood garden during it's early development. He spent a summer managing commercial heirloom seed production for Diggers. He has an Honours Degree in Botany and wrote a thesis on the Pliocene flora of Bacchus Marsh.
Before working in I.T. Jol had a varied career in the alternative construction industry and indigenous plant landscaping on the Mornington Peninsula. He contributed to the rammed earth and thatch roof construction of the old Fork to Fork restaurant.
Jol has been a Diggers board member since the board formed in 2004 and more recently he is a Director of The Diggers Foundation. In his current work Jol manages multiple software engineering teams delivering financial markets and regulatory projects. He brings to the Diggers boards skills in financial analysis, IT planning and human resources. Jol says that defining the vision and purpose of Diggers is an exciting opportunity for future generations of Diggers supporters.
Andrew is a qualified landscape architect and horticulturalist with over thirty years of experience in the industry. Andrew is well known for his in depth knowledge of plants, his mastery of design, and his unique, innovative approach to design.
Andrew is most widely known for his long-standing role as the landscape architect at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. In this position he has designed and developed many projects including the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, Guilfoyle’s Volcano and the Fern Gully rejuvenation.
Andrew has taught Landscape Design at the University of Melbourne’s Burnley campus (previously VCAH) for over twenty-five years, teaching many of Australia’s gardeners and designers, and he is a regular presenter on ABC 774’s Saturday morning gardening program. Andrew founded Laidlaw & Laidlaw Design in 2004 with his wife Sarah, and has undertaken a range of domestic and public projects while continuing his work for the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Andrew’s love of plants and nature began in childhood and was inspired by his father's love of the gardens. The childhood memories of playing free in the bush and connecting with nature has inspired Andrew's lifelong passion to not only work with nature, but to help others learn, enjoy and find their own connection with the natural world.
Talei has been part of The Diggers Club team for 18 years, promoting and growing garden knowledge as Manager Education and Media. Talei has been a passionate gardener for as long as she can remember, inspired as a child living in Asia and the Pacific with an early introduction to exotic landscapes and food plants.
Her tertiary studies reflect her keen interest in history and interpretation of the social world. Talei has been a guide with Botanica World Discoveries since 2006, sharing her knowledge about plants, garden history and the culinary world.
John McInnes OAM
John is a Chartered Accountant and also a Director of a number of commercial, non-listed companies including Southern Cross Station Pty Ltd and Castlegate James Australasia Pty Ltd. He has previously been Deputy Chairman of Pacific Hydro Ltd and Chairman of Futuris Ltd.
He was the founding partner of the Chartered Accounting firm of McInnes Graham & Gibbs, which in 2006 merged with Mutual Trust. John has over 40 years experience in the accounting profession and is a consultant to Mutual Trust. John is Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee.
Prior to commencing with the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria as Manager Horticulture Cranbourne Gardens, John has worked in a number of significant public gardens in Victoria.
John worked for over 20 years at the Melbourne Zoo facilitating a number of roles from technical to managerial. During this period the Melbourne Zoo was transformed to be one of the world’s leading exponents of zoological horticulture.
He joined the team at the Geelong Botanic Gardens in 2000 and played a key role in the delivery of 21st Century Garden project which was the catalyst for the rejuvenation of the gardens. In his current role John leads the team of horticulturists at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Cranbourne Gardens at a challenging and exciting time in the history of the gardens.
In 2015 John was awarded the Australian Plants Award. This award is presented biennially by the Australian Native Plant Societies (Australia) to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the knowledge of Australian plants.