In Memoriam: Arthur W. Headlam
Brian Clancy, Bentleigh, Australia
Arthur W. Headlam died on December 13, 1984 at the age of 76 years. Amongst many other interests and activities, he had an intimate knowledge of rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias, lilies and photography. Arthur was a kind and generous gentleman who was always willing to share his knowledge and plant material with anyone who was interested.
First and foremost, Arthur was a life member of the Australian Rhododendron Society and during his long service he acted as official photographer, Assistant Editor, committeeman and Editor. He was a frequent contributor of articles and photographs to "The Rhododendron" journal of the Australian Rhododendron Society, regularly provided illustrated lectures at meetings, worked long hours in the establishment of the National Rhododendron Garden at Olinda, Victoria and was a very keen member of the Species Study Group. He was awarded the Australian Rhododendron Society's highest honour, the Gold Medal on August 17, 1984.
Arthur is probably best known to readers of this Journal for the regular and frequent publication of his articles and photographs. His first article was published in the A.R.S. Bulletin in April 1964 and his last article in the A.R.S. Journal of Winter 1984; the year he died. What is generally not known is that he was crippled with arthritis at 70 years young and could only write laboriously. He overcame this problem by buying an electric typewriter and how well he coped is illustrated by the fact that each issue of the Journal during 1983 carried an illustrated article by Arthur Headlam. His philosophy on rhododendrons is best summed up with an extract from his article on page 22 of the 1983 A.R.S. Journal - "No matter how many rhododendrons there are in one's collection, and the number is generally governed by the size of one's yard, there is little doubt that visiting another enthusiast's garden to see the rhododendrons in flower, and see how some of the problems associated with growing these beautiful and sometimes temperamental plants have been overcome, is one of the pleasures in store for the novice as well as the more experienced growers." The significance of this extract can be better appreciated by checking the color reproductions on page 22/1983; only three of more than 500 reproduced internationally.
In addition, Arthur Headlam also contributed illustrated articles to the Year Books of The Royal Horticultural Society, London, over a period of 14 years and to the Year Books of the New Zealand Rhododendron Association and of the Japanese Rhododendron Society. He gave his full attention to anyone who wrote to him and he regularly corresponded with numerous enthusiasts in 15 different countries. He also provided your A.R.S. with a number of slide programs.
Needless to add, Arthur was still working on an article for the Journal when he passed away. He is survived by two sisters, Lil Headlam and Maude Martin.