The NSW Regional Judging Panel provides the judging panels to judge orchids throughout NSW. Judges panels are convened to judge at Orchid Society Shows and meetings, garden club shows and local horticultural shows. Orchid judging is done in accordance with the Australian Orchid Council Judging Rules.

Part of the Orchid Society of NSW’s charter is the maintenance of the state judging panel. This includes the training of new judges and the ongoing revision/updating and retraining of those on the panel, on a continuous basis, in order to provide knowledgeable, experienced, ‘expert’ advice in the selection of superior orchid flowers.
The OSNSW Affiliated societies pay an annual affiliation fee to OSNSW in return for various services including assistance with day to day advice on the administrative function of the society, assistance with annual Public Liability Insurance, the provision of talks for their meetings via the OSNSW website and the allocation of OSNSW Judges for their orchid shows.
The Affiliated Societies request judges for shows in a formal manner by sending a written request to the judging panel representative, listing the date, time of judging, show schedule and judge number required. OSNSW has formed an obligation to our Affiliated societies to provide judging services for these shows, at the time, date and judge number requested.
The duty of the OSNSW Judging Panel is to provide service to the Affiliated Society, and to judge according to the schedule as set down by the society.

Orchid Shows are judged on a comparative basis rewarding the best flowers within each appropriate group. There is in excess of 40,000 species of orchid in nature and an even greater diversity of man-made hybrids. Orchids must firstly be well-grown and free from blemishes and disease, then they are chosen for the best of their type.

The second form of Judging is Award Judging. Here judges consider orchid flowers based on quality according to the current standards and benchmarks. Plants are awarded First Class Certificates for the very best plants, and Awards of Merit and Highly Commended Certificates for superior plants. Species orchids that are new to cultivation and where no benchmark yet exists may be awarded Certificates of Botanical Merit where applicable. Orchids with desirable, new or distinctive features such as colour are awarded Awards of Distinction. Exceptionally well-grown plants which meet reasonable flower quality standards may be given Awards Cultural Certificates.

Orchid Appreciation & Judging Classes

Metropolitan Region Judging Panel Orchid Appreciation & Judging Classes

The Orchid Society of NSW runs Orchid appreciation/judging courses via Zoom conferencing. So now participants can learn from the comfort of their own homes.

The courses are aimed at orchid growers of all levels of experience who want to learn more about the various genera and what makes an awardable quality orchid or quality display through the eyes of judges.

The courses are also recommended for Show Marshals who want to learn and understand show schedules and in which classes their plants should be exhibited.

It is intended that courses will be run every First Sunday 7.00pm to 9.00 pm each month except December and January. It is anticipated that the course will run for approximately 2 years and then repeat. Participants can join at any time.

Participants will gain practical experience in sessions run by the local panels. The local panels will assess the progress of the participants in order to make adjustments to the modules where necessary.

Participants who complete all modules may be invited to complete the practical and theory exams. Those successful in those exams may be invited by the Judging Panel to become an Associate Judge.

The cost for the course will be a once off fee of $50.00.

Please contact Ian Chalmers if you are interested in participating in the course:
Email:  Cattleya7373@gmail.com
Mobile: 0400220192
Ian Chalmers
Registrar NSW

Judging Process
  1. Application
    Application/request for an orchid to be judged for an award can be submitted by: A grower; A Judge or A group of judges
  2. Who can judge
    A panel of 5 accredited orchid judges under the control of the Registrar or the Registrar’s nominee. The Registrar’s nominee includes the Regional panel leaders, area panel leaders or any judge appointed by one of these to organize the judging. At some shows the judges have judges an orchid for an award and the appointment of the Registrar’s nominee has been made retrospectively.
  3. Judging venue
    The venue for award judging is normally:
    *  At a show
    *  At a monthly meeting
    *  At a site or event nominated by the Registrar’s nominee.
    *  At the growers premises: If the plant cannot be transported or if there is no other suitable venue
  4. Process
    Once the Registrar or Registrar’s nominee receives the application/request they should form a panel and arrange for a venue.
    If at a show or monthly meeting with sufficient judges then those judges should form the panel.
    If at a show or meeting where there are not 5 judges then one of the judges should contact the Registrar or Registrar’s nominee to arrange for more judges.
    Registrar of the Registrar’s nominee should arrange for more judges at the same event or venue or a different venue. But must be within a reasonable time.
    If nomination comes independently by the grower or judge. Then the Registrar or Registrar’s nominee should look for a suitable venue and convene a panel.
    The convening of the panel and the selection of the venue can only be in conjunction with each other due to availability of judges and venues.
    If the venue is a Society meeting or at a show it is polite to ask the society’s permission.
  5. Judging
    * A minimum of 5 judges must be in favour.
    *  If there are more than 9 judges, then it is based on a simple majority in favour.
    *  Not all judges need to present at the same time.
    *  Cut flowers can be judged if the plant has to travel more than 200km, but an image of the flowers on the plant must be provided. The image is not required for orchids at AOC Conferences.
    *  If there less than 5 judges present then the flowers may be cut and sent for the additional judges consideration. (under the 200 km rule).
    *  Under AOC rules if a panel of five CANNOT be constituted then those available can judge the plant and submit images to be circulated to ratify the award. This was designed for the Northern Territory Panel where the state Registrars viewed the images to ratify the award.
  6. COVID
    Under the extraordinary conditions we were faced with under COVID, the preferred form of judging was to have the orchid under consideration placed in an open location so that judges could judge the orchid individually without breaching any COVID rules.
    This process failed as the only response to the general request for judges was sorry, we are not available. (This response is normal COVID or not).
    In response to direct requests to the closest judges was NO. Under the circumstances that left (f) above as the only option except shutting the panel down completely until further notice.
    Under (f) the plants were except in 1 case were previewed by a current judge or an independent experienced ex-judge, measurements were made by the person previewing the orchid.
    Note: We have a long history or judging by images. In the past all national AOC awards were ratified by the other state panels by photographs and many were downgraded. Also all awards judged outside the metro area had to be approved by the “Main Panel” (Metro panel.) So option f is nothing new.
Judging Panel Details
Metropolitan Panel
  • Area Covered: This panel covers the area bounded by the Hawkesbury River, Campbelltown and Kiama
  • Award Judging Availability: Award Judging is also available at the shows and special judging sessions can be arranged through the Registrar
  • Regional Panel Leader Contact:  Garrie Bromley; Phone: 0425 336 049
  • Registrar’s Contact:  Ian Chalmers; Phone: 0400220192
Hunter & Central Coast Panel
  • Area Covered: This panel covers the area bounded by the Hawkesbury River, to the Manning River
  • Award Judging Availability: Award judging is available at orchid shows e.g. Mingara Orchid Fair and Show. Special Judging sessions can be organised for Newcastle and north with Phil Radford, and in the south of Newcastle with John Bartlett or Steve Dunstan. Award Judging is also available at Club and Society meetings. Please contact Panel Secretary Steve Dunstan on 0411 149 499 if award judging is required.
  • Regional Panel Leader Contact: Peter Anderson
Mid North Coast Panel

Regional Panel Leader Contact: Dick Cooper

Far North Coast Panel
  • Area Covered: North Coast of NSW
  • Regional Panel leader Contact: Robert Wilson
South & Western Regional Panel
  • Area Covered: South of Kiama to the Victorian Border and West of the dividing range from Goulburn south
  • Regional Panel Leader Contact: Travis Milton; Phone: 0448 415 723 (If the Regional Panel Leader is not available contact the Registrar
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