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The Society was founded way back in 1956 by a bird loving Englishman, one Hartley King. Hartley was so taken by the vast varieties and brilliant colours of our Australian native birds that he built a rather large bank of aviaries in St James to house his first love - parrots, followed by additions to keep a wide variety of finches.
Initially a very small bank of people formed the club. Advertising was predominantly by word of mouth and a page flyer with news and avicultural tips was produced by Hartley and his wife, Anne.
In the early days meetings were held at the Secretary's home, but then as numbers started to climb things went a little up market. The General Meetings were held at the Library Hall on Albany Highway, Victoria Park (opposite the Broken Hill Hotel). Committee meetings moved to different executive members' homes and finally, after the sale of the old Library Hall, we moved to the state Primary School on the corner of Orrong Road and Wright Street, Carlisle.
Membership was growing strongly, totalling over 600 by the mid 1960s.
For the first 6-7 years the Society did not produce a monthly magazine. Around 1963 the Western Australian Avicultural Magazine appeared at a price of 10c per copy. Today's price is $3.50.
At the monthly meetings (as is still the case) guest speakers, movie presentations, question and answer nights, panel discussions and Quiz Nights were all the go, mixed with a wonderful atmosphere of camaraderie and genuine bird lovers. The Society was slowly building up a Reference Library which today is quite superb and available to all members at each monthly meeting.
On the 30th January, 1972, the Society held its first "Cage and Aviary Birds Exhibition" in the Victoria Park Library Hall. It proved so popular that it has been a biennial event ever since, held at various venues including the Wanneroo and Cannington Agricultural Shows, Pagoda Ballroom in South Perth, old Peninsular Hotel in Maylands and the York Show. In more recent times shows have been held at the Claremont Showgrounds and Cannington Greyhound Exhibition Hall - all with great success.
These displays of a wide variety of aviary birds enabled young and older enthusiasts alike to see first hand just what was available and, with the friendly assistance of that ever willing band of workers, were able to freely talk to members seeking much advice and guidance in what can be a truly rewarding and very relaxing hobby.
June 1983 saw the Society take arguably its biggest step, via the outright purchase of an old hall on a sizeable block at 112 Acton Avenue, Rivervale.
Over the years the Avicultural Society of W.A. (Inc.) has seen many changes in the trends of aviculture in Australia and overseas. Its members have been responsible for the development of new mutations, for the conservation of threatened species and for advancing our knowledge and improving how we care for aviary birds. With the continued support of its members, sponsors and the public, the Society hopes to continue this work into the future.
Written by Tom Davis & Claire Stevenson