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Our Principal


Mr John Mason
Dip.Hort.Sci., Sup'n Cert.

(Principal - ACS Distance Education)

Mr Mason has over 35 years experience in the fields of Horticulture, Recreation, Education & Journalism. He has held positions ranging from Director of Parks & Recreation (City of Essendon) to magazine editor. John has lectured in University and Vocational education, and is a well respected member of many professional bodies. He is a fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Horticulture in the UK, and also a fellow of the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
He is the author of more than one hundred books, and over a thousand published magazine and newspaper articles. He is a keen photographer, with many of his photographs having been published in books and magazines.


Dip. Hort. Sci. (VCAH Burnley,1971),
Supervision Certificate (RMIT, 1977)
B.A (Planning Studies) at F.I.T. 50% completed.
Cert. in Theology 90% completed.
Adv.Cert.App.Management-Publishing & Journalism


  • Institute of Horticulture (IOH) UK Member since 1999, Fellow since 2003.
  • Australian Institute of Horticulture (past State President, State secretary, and national vice president. State committee member 1978-80, 84-88).
  • Parks & Leisure Australia (formerly Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation) (fellow since 1998, associate since 1984; member since 1974).
  • International Approval and Registration Centre President.
  • International Plant Propagators Society (executive board member '90-95).
  • Queensland Nursery Industry Association.
  • Australian Nursery Industry Association.
  • Australian Council Health Physical Education and Recreation.
  • International Herb Growers and Marketers Association.
  • Australian Society of Authors.
  • Australasian Plant Pathology Society.
  • International Playgrounds Association (Aust. Rep. '77-80).
  • Royal Horticultural Society (U.K.).
  • Horticultural Media Association (Australia).

Areas of Expertise:

  • Horticulture, Small Business, Education, Writing, Agriculture, Recreation and Management.
  • Plant identification, landscape design, parks management, nursery management.
  • Hydroponics, herbs, Australian plants.
  • Children’s play and playground design, fitness.
  • Photography, journalism, community participation.

Career History:


Graduated after 3 years of full time study from Burnley Horticultural College.

Rotary Youth Leadership Awardee.


Self employed Landscaping, garden maintenance and wholesale nursery business.


Technical Officer, Fisons Ltd.


Youth Leader (part time) Baptist Church.


Retail Nursery management and landscaping.


Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, Shire of Melton.


Established Melton Garden Club(President)

  • Taught gardening classes at Melton Community Centre.
  • Wrote gardening column for Melton local paper.


Overseas study tour of children's playgrounds.


Lecturing in short course for Council of Adult Education.


Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Essendon.


Consultant Landscape Designer/Playground Adviser
Playgrounds and Recreation Association of Vic.


0ccasional Writer for "Your Garden", national garden magazine.


Member of National committee for International Year of the Child.


Sessional lecturer for:

  • Designed and conducted elective subjects for F.I.T. in the Associate Diploma in Recreation Leadership.
  • Jointly lectured 3rd year Landscape Design in Diploma at Burnley.
  • Lectured on understanding children's play, and playground design to Post Graduate Diploma in Recreation at Philip Institute and to kindergarten trainee teachers (Lincoln Institute).


Established Australian Horticultural Correspondence School.

1979 to present

Design and management of Advertising & Marketing for Australian Correspondence Schools.


Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, City of Heidelberg.


Regular writer for "Grass Roots" magazine.


Self employed nurseryman and landscape contractor.

1985 to present

Developed and managed the AHCS on a full time basis.


Organized of Garden Pavillion at Royal Melbourne Show (50-100 exhibitors). Won awards two out of the five years.
(ie. Best Commercial Display '88; Best Horticultural Display '92).

1989 to present

Editor/Photographer/Writer: Greenleaf Series Magazines and Garden Guide Series Magazines.


Regular writer for the magazines: Queensland Homes and Victoria Homes.


Program Organizer, International Plant Propagators Conference, Albury.


Study tour/photographing gardens and garden shows in Europe.


Wrote & produced five educational videos (using the video production unit of Griffith University, and private facilities in Melbourne).


Wrote quality assurance documentation for Australian Correspondence Schools.


Wrote accreditation documentation for Advanced Diplomas in Horticulture, Agriculture and Recreation-Fitness. Achieved accreditation and listing on the National Register for these courses.


Established 9 internet sites for Australian Correspondence Schools, continued developing new courses including computer servicing & ecotourism. (Won awards in 1997: Pick of the Net from Sofcom, and Majons Select Award).


Editor Your Backyard National Magazine (Australian print media publication – published by Express Publications).

1998 to present

Wrote several books, new courses and developed new web sites.


Formal Study:


Diploma in Horticultural Science, Burnley Horticultural College, Vic. (now VCAH, Burnley - Melbourne University)


Certificate in Theology : Sydney Anglican Theological College, by Correspondence 90% completed.


Rotary Youth Leadership Award (approx. 40hrs) Course completed.


YMCA Detached Youth Workers Course (approx. 30 hrs) Course completed.


Bachelor of Science R.M.I.T. - Sociology & Chemistry, incomplete.


Supervision Certificate (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) (2 years part time distance education).


Bachelor of Arts (Planning Studies) Footscray Institute of Technology course 50% completed.


Bachelor of Science, Latrobe University, -Zoology, incomplete.


PADI Open Water Divers Certificate, Aussie Dive, Gold Coast.


Training Skills I, II & III.


RPL granted for stream studies in Instructional skills in Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (approx. 250 hrs).


Advanced Certificate in Applied Management - Publishing & Journalism (approx. 700 hrs).


Short Courses:

Various, including:

  • Detatched Youth Work Course (6 months, YMCA, 1970)
  • Rotary Youth Leader Award (1971)

Major Conferences:

Note: This is just a selection. There are many other seminars and meetings not listed which have been attended, organised, conducted by, or lectured at by John Mason.


Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation National Conference, Adelaide, (5 days) - delegate.


International Association for the Childrens Right to Play Triannual Conference, Milan Italy, (7 days) - delegate.


Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation, National Conference, Melbourne, (5 days) - delegate.


Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation, National Conference, Brisbane, (5 days) - organiser of childrens play and playground segment.


Recreational Landscaping Course -Course Coordinator for Burnley Horticultural College (Designed, and managed 3 day course and was main lecturer for two consecutive years).


Technological Advances in Parks Maintenance - designed, coordinated and lectured at 2 day course jointly with Elaine Murphy, Senior Lecturer (for Footscray Institute of Technology).


Plant Materials 1980 -designed, coordinated and lectured at 2 day course jointly with Elaine Murphy, Senior Lecturer (for Footscray Institute of Technology in conjunction with Burnley Horticultural College).


Play Safety Conference, Melbourne - Speaker


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Sydney, (3 days) - delegate.


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Hobart, (3 days) - delegate.


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Perth, (3 days) - delegate.


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Canberra, (3 days) - delegate.


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Ballina, (3 days) - delegate.


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Albury, (3 days) - conference program organiser (designed lecture program,coordinated all speakers).


Attended International Garden Festival, Stuttgart, Germany and Hampton Court Flower Show, London, U.K.


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Twin Waters, Sunshine Coast (delivered one of the introductory session papers).


International Plant Propagators National Conference, Adelaide 1995 Study Tour of Hawaii (August) - Botanic Gardens.


Study Tour of New Zealand (November) - Ellerslie Garden Show & Open Gardens.


Study Tour of Britain and Germany (June/July - 4 shows/exhibitions, over 40 gardens, numerous industry meetings.


Study tour of USA & Canada West Coast.


Tour of UK & Netherlands (4 weeks) visiting shows (Hampton Court & Floriade), gardens, meetings with colleagues, photography etc.).


International Society for Horticultural Science – Horticultural Education Symposium Perth, W.A. Key Speaker.

Chairman, International Accreditation & Recognition Council.


Established affiliation (licensing) agreements with a number of institutions including Pershore College(UK), Writtle College (UK) Lifestyle Learning Direct (Australia), NEEF (India), Pacifica (USA).

Published Work:


  • Fun and Fitness Trails, Victorian Dept. of Sport and Recreation, 1978
  • Starting a Nursery or Herb Farm, Night Owl, 1983 (revised 1994)
  • The Environment of Play, Leisure Press, New York, 1982
  • Herb Review, self published, 1987
  • Landscaping with Herbs, self published, 1988
  • The Native Plant Expert, self published, 1989
  • Let's Grow Gardens, self published, 1990
  • Growing Ferns, Kangaroo Press, 1990
  • Commercial Hydroponics, Kangaroo Press, 1990
  • Growing Vegetables, Kangaroo Press, 1991
  • Growing Herbs, Kangaroo Press, 1993
  • Nursery Management, Kangaroo Press, April 1994
  • Tropical Gardening, Bay Books, October 1994
  • Yates Guide to Pests & Diseases, Angus & Robertson, February 1995
  • Growing Pelargoniums & Geraniums Hyland House 1996
  • Farm Management Kangaroo Press 1996
  • Growing Australian Natives Kangaroo Press 1997
  • Starting a Nursery or Herb Farm (Revised ed) Kangaroo Press 1997
  • Sustainable Farming Simon & Schuster (Kangaroo Press) Spring 1997
  • Growing Tropical Plants Simon & Schuster (Kangaroo Press) 1997
  • Starting a Landscape or Garden Business Kangaroo Press 1998
  • Aqua Aerobics Kangaroo Press 1999
  • Growing Conifers Kangaroo Press 1999
  • Profitable Farming Kangaroo Press 1999
  • A Beginners Guide to Orchids Hyland House
  • Aerobic Fitness Kangaroo Press
  • Trees & Shrubs for Small Places Kangaroo/Simon & Schuster 2000
  • Propagating from Cuttings Kangaroo/Simon & Schuster 2002
  • Sustainable Agriculture 2nd ed (Landlinks/CSIRO) 2003
  • Nursery Management 2nd ed (Landlinks Press) 2004
  • Growing & Using Vegetables & Herbs (Simon & Schuster) 2005
  • Commercial Hydroponics 2nd ed (Kangaroo/Simon & Schuster) 2005
  • Growing Australian Natives 2nd ed (Kangaroo/Simon& Schuster) 2005



Your Garden (contributor)

1980 to present

Grass Roots (contributor)

1987 to present

Garden Guide Monthly Magazine (contributor)

2000 to present

Garden Guide Monthly Magazine (Editor)

1992 to present

Queensland Homes (contributor)

1992 to present

Victoria Homes (contributor)

1993 to present

South Australia Homes (contributor)

1999 to 2003

Your Backyard National Gardening Magazine (principal author & editor)

2005- 2007

Garden Guru’s Newspaper – Victorian edition feature writer

Queensland Outdoor Living Magazine – principal feature writer

Occasional contributor to more than twenty other publications.

Garden Guide Specials (author/photographer/editor of the following titles):

  • Gardening with Herbs
  • More Gardening with Herbs
  • Cottage Garden Landscapes
  • Backyard Landscaping Ideas
  • 101 Backyard Landscaping Ideas
  • Landscaping Your Backyard
  • Your Guide to Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs
  • Your Guide to Natural Gardening
  • Better Backyard Ideas
  • Landscaping with Australian Plants
  • Landscaping Ideas for Shaded Areas
  • Better Garden Ideas
  • Controlling Garden Pests & Diseases
  • Backyard Ideas and Garden Care 90-91
  • Backyard Ideas and Garden Care 91-92
  • Landscaping with Ferns, Palms and Orchids
  • 101 Natural Gardening Ideas
  • Maintenance Free Backyards

Greenleaf Specials (author/photographer/editor of the following titles):

  • Herbs from Your Garden
  • The Better Backyard Guide
  • What to Plant Where
  • Colourful and Fragrant Gardens

Other Special Magazines (author/editor of the following titles):

  • Creative Landscaping Ideas
  • Beautiful Landscaping Ideas
  • Landscaping Your Garden
  • Country & Cottage Landscapes


Editor and principal writer of monthly Gardening-Lifestyle magazine (YOUR BACKYARD) for Express Publications in Sydney, Australia


Editor and principal writer of Garden Guide monthly magazine

2010 to present

Publisher/owner of  ACS Distance Education - Book Publisher

2012 to present Garden Editor, Home Grown Magazine.



Wrote, presented and produced the following videos since 1994:

  • Plant Identification
  • Herb Identification
  • Designing a Garden
  • Plant Propagation
  • Australian Native Plants
  • Garden Style
  • Identifying Tropical Plants
  • Identifying Trees & Shrubs
  • Identifying Bulbs & Perennials
  • Careers in the 21st Century

COURSES organised or conducted by J. Mason:
Melbourne (averaging 4 classes a week for more than a decade from 1973)

  • Main author of over 600 correspondence courses (curriculum documentation, study guides and course notes), Australian Correspondence Schools) including hobby, certificate, advanced certificate & diploma.
  • Principal author of curriculum documentation for five VETEC (Qld) and/or nationally accredited courses.
  • Designed and conducted hobby courses for Council of Adult Education, Victoria from 1974-81.
    These courses included:
  • Designed and conducted hobby classes for various community centres including Melton, Box Hill, Knox, Hawthorn, and Essendon (1974-81).
  • Designed and conducted one week workshops (twice annually), and shorter seminars (3 hour to 1 day, at least twice annually) for the Australian Horticultural Correspondence School and various professional Associations between 1986 and 1995.
  • Sunday school teacher 1970-75, 1978-79.
  • Organized and conducted Youth Worker Training Programs for church 1971-73.
  • Various play leader training programs for Department of Youth Sport & Recreation (Vic), and other authorities, 1976-82 (organiser/lecturer).



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