The Maud Gibson Trust 

The Maud Gibson Trust

The Maud Gibson Trust was created in 1945 with a settlement from Miss Maud Gibson to support Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

Since then, the Trust has provided important financial assistance and been an influential advocate for the horticultural, scientific and educational work of the Gardens.

It has been especially involved in the establishment of Cranbourne Gardens, which showcases the beauty and diversity of Australian plants.

The Trust has supported the following projects at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria over recent years: 

  • Elisabeth Murdoch Scholarship
  • Armillaria Project
  • Global Collection Project
  • Support for an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant in Science.
  • The TroMPS (Tropical Mountain Plant Science Project). The aim of this project is establishing multisite ex situ holdings of targeted FNQ at-risk species ‘backed up’ across seedbanks and living collections across Australia.
  • Sponsorship of the 7th Global Botanic Gardens Congress 2022 held in Melbourne and hosted by RBGV.

Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation Victoria Pty Ltd is the Trustee of the Maud Gibson Trust, a charitable trust which makes regular donations to the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. 

For further information or to make a donation, contact Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria's Development team:

T 03 9252 2383

Please see below button to the Maud Gibson Trust book, A Vision Shared The Maud Gibson Trust 1945 - 1995.

Maud Gibson Trust Committee Members


Maud Gibson Trust Committee Members

Penny Woodward BSc (Botany and Zoology)


Appointed to Advisory Panel in 2014, Committee Deputy Chair 2020 – 2023, Chair 2023 - ; Author of eight gardening books; writer, photographer and editor for ABC’s Organic Gardener magazine for many years; speaker on all things edible and useful gardening. Patron Herb Society of Victoria, life member of Australian Garlic Industry Association and member of the Horticultural Media Association Australia.

George Howson


Appointed to Committee in 2000, great-nephew of Maud Gibson, the founder of the MGT.

He loves the way that the Trust overlaps with the research-focused activities of the projects that the MGT typically support. George operates an agroforestry project on 140 acres west of Geelong, integrating a range of regenerative agriculture approaches to caring for country. 

Chris Russell

Director & Chief Executive RBGV

Chris Russell has been Executive Director of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne from 2001, overseeing the development of the much-celebrated Australian Garden. This followed diverse experience gained with national parks management and the construction industry. His qualifications include a Bachelor of Science with Honours and Graduate Diploma of Land Rehabilitation.

Chris is also a current Board member of Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand Ltd (BGANZ) and previous Deputy Chair of Casey Cardinia Tourism.

Since Chris joined the organisation, he has spearheaded numerous projects aimed at benefiting both the Gardens’ visitors and the resident flora and fauna. Recently, these include creating under-road animal tunnels to increase the survival of Southern Brown Bandicoot and other native wildlife at Cranbourne Gardens, developing a new nature playground to engage young people and their families in nature play in Melbourne’s growing south-east and implementing various landscape and visitor facility renewal projects. His leadership has also led to the introduction of a water recycling initiatives across Cranbourne Gardens, and the successful management of the 7th Global Botanic Gardens Congress, hosted in Melbourne in 2022.

Prof Ian Woodrow  

Appointed to Committee in 2014, Head, School of Ecosystem and Forest Science, The University of Melbourne. Ian gained his science degree from the University of Melbourne and PhD in plant biochemistry from the University of Sheffield (UK). He has held post-doctoral positions at overseas and Australian universities before taking up a lectureship at the James Cook University in Queensland and then moved to University of Melbourne.

Jill Burness BA, MLArch

Appointed to the Committee in 2023. Registered landscape architect, Landscape Planner at RBGV Cranbourne Gardens 1995-2022. Honorary Life member of the Cranbourne Friends, member of the Cranbourne Friends Committee of Management, member of Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand (BGANZ), member of the Australian Garden History Society and Board Director of the Wildlife Art Museum of Australia (WAMA).

Advisory Panel Members

Millie Ross

Appointed to Advisory Panel in 2016. Horticulturalist, author and speaker. Head Research and Presenter for ABC Television’s 'Gardening Australia' program. Member of the Horticultural Media Association Australia.

Brian Snape AM

Appointed to Advisory Panel in 2005. Following a successful business career, Brian took early retirement and spent the next 20 years working voluntarily in the not-for-profit environment sector. He was Chairman of Trust for Nature (Vic) for 10 years and involved with Birds Australia for 20 years (including 3 years as President). Brian has a passion for landscaping with Australian plants and has been involved with the Australian Garden at RBGV Cranbourne Gardens since its inception.

Kate Walsh BSc (Botany and Zoology) 

Appointed to Advisory Panel in 2021; Kate has worked with her Gippsland rural community to protect biodiversity and restore indigenous vegetation. She is a Friend of Cranbourne Gardens and, as a Garden Ambassador, witnessed RBGV’s important role in research, engagement and knowledge dissemination. Kate’s grandfather, Sir Frederick Mann was the first chair of the MGT.

Rodger Elliot AM   

Appointed to Advisory Panel February 2023, Committee member 1992 – 2023, Deputy Chair 2005 – 2019, Chair 2020 – February 2023; horticulturalist, writer (co-author of renowned The Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants Suitable for Cultivation; 9 vols). Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Board member (1995 - 2010); Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for contribution to the horticulture of Australian plants; Horticultural Media Association Australia’s Hall of Fame inductee; Australian Natural History Medallion recipient.