Last plants from Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre


An era has ended with Dick Harding and John Abbott from SOWN collecting the last load of native plants from the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre (AGCC) nursery on 8 September 2022.

SOWN has operated a very successful nursery partnership with AGCC for 12 years with the prison nursery producing a total of 850,500 high-quality native plants.

Over this period, SOWN’s nursery manager Dick Harding has run the program in conjunction with Kobus Havenga from AGCC.

“That’s an absolutely colossal number of plants that have been planted over the years of the partnership,” Dick said.

He thanked Kobus for his unwavering support.

“We made a great team,” Dick said.

In 2014, the SOWN-AGCC nursery partnership won the Healthy Waterways community award and the overall Minister’s grand prize.

The native plants produced by the partnership have been distributed through the SOWN nursery and to other creek catchment and bushcare groups doing revegetation work in South-East Queensland.

“This partnership with AGCC has made a huge contribution to SOWN and to revegetation programs in South-East Queensland, thanks to Dick and Kobus,” said SOWN President, Renee McGlashan.

The program has also benefited prisoners coming through AGCC by teaching them horticulture and giving them nursery skills through hands-on experience.

Production peaked in 2017 when 150,000 plants were produced in one year.

Although the partnership with AGCC has finished, SOWN is working with Queensland Corrective Services to establish a new partnership and nursery at the Borallon Training and Correctional Centre near Ipswich.

SOWN wishes to acknowledge the ongoing support of the Queensland Government and Queensland Corrective Services in the operation of the SOWN-AGCC nursery partnership and in establishing the new facility at Borallon.

SOWN Nursery manager Dick Harding unloads the last plants from Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. PHOTO: John Abbott