About 20 enthusiasts from a wide area of the Far South Coast formed the Sapphire Coast Orchid Club in late 1982. The objective of the club was to share information and provide mutual assistance with orchid growing on the Far South Coast of NSW.
Membership now stands at around 50, many coming from a great distance to attend meetings, held monthly in Bega.
Monthly meetings feature local and interstate speakers, practical demonstrations and an opportunity for members to show their latest blooms. Members also have access to a comprehensive library of books and magazines. Meetings conclude with a cuppa and general chat.
There are three shows staged each year, the winter show in August and the Sarcanthinae show in November at Twyford Hall, Merimbula, and the spring show at the Bega Civic Centre in September.
Social activities such as visiting local grower's orchid houses and bush walks to see native orchids in the wild as well as workshops keep members well informed. The Club is affiliated with the Orchid Society of NSW www.osnsw.com.au and the Australian Orchid Council www.orchidsaustralia.com. These bodies organise shows at State and National level and train and regulate judges and standards. The more experienced growers may attend judging courses to become accredited judges.
The club meets on the last Thursday of each month, except December. Meetings are held in the CWA rooms, Church Street Bega. Members wishing to display plants put them on the bench at 7:00pm. The meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Members have an opportunity to inspect the displayed plants and vote for their favourite, whilst accredited judges make their assessment. Business is kept to a minimum to allow plenty of time for the guest speaker and for members to chat. New members and visitors are always made welcome.
Several times during the year the Club holds workshops at various locations in the area at which the culture of different orchids is demonstrated. Visitors are encouraged to get 'hands on' at these workshops.