Mr John Mason
Dip.Hort.Sci., Sup'n Cert.
(Principal - ACS Distance Education
Publisher -ACS Distance Education Publications)

Mr Mason has over 40 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 Technical & Further Education Colleges (TAFE), and is a well respected member of many professional bodies. He is the author of more than forty books, and of hundreds of magazines and newspaper articles. He is a keen photographer, with many of his photographs having been published in books and magazines. 
Apart from his role in the school, he continues to write several new books each year, and is currently the garden editor for Home Grown, a "green" living magazine, published in Australia.


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


  • Australian Institute of Horticulture (past State President, State secretary, and national vice president. State committee member 1978-80, 84-88; Fellow since 2010; Sth East Qld Coordinator 2017-current)
  • Chartered Institute of Horticulture (U.K.) -Fellow since 2003
  • Parks & Leisure Australia (formerly Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation) (fellow since 1998, associate since 1984; member since 1974)
  • Queensland Nursery Industry Association (1992-present)
  • Australian Nursery Industry Association
  • Association Australian Council Health Physical Education and Recreation (1977 -present)
  • International Approval and Registration Centre IARC (Joint founder and current president)
  • International Plant Propagators Society (executive board member '90-95)
  • International Herb Association (1985-present)
  • Australian Society of Authors (1988-present)
  • Australasian Plant Pathology Society (1974-94)
  • International Playgrounds Association (Aust. Rep. '77-80)
  • Royal Horticultural Society (U.K.)
  • Horticultural Media Association (Australia) (Foundation member)
  • Complementary Medicine Association (U.K.)
  • British Institute of Learning and Development
  • Garden Media Guild (UK)

Area of Expertise:

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

Career History:

1971     Graduated after 3yrs of full time study from Burnley Horticultural College, Rotary Youth Leadership Award
1972 Self employed Landscaping, garden maintenance and wholesale nursery business.
1972 Technical Officer, Fisons Ltd.
1972-75 Youth Leader (part time) Baptist Church
1972-73 Retail Nursery management and landscaping.
1973-76 Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, Shire of Melton
1974 Established Melton Garden Club(President)
  • Taught gardening classes at Melton Community Centre.
  • Wrote gardening column for Melton local paper.
1975 Overseas study tour of children's playgrounds.
1976-82 Lecturing in short course for Council of Adult Education.
1976-77 Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Essendon.
1977-80 Consultant Landscape Designer/Playground Adviser
Playgrounds and Recreation Association of Vic.
1977-81 0ccasional Writer for "Your Garden", national garden magazine.
1978 Member of National committee for International Year of the Child
  • Sessional lecturer for:
    • Footscray Institute of Technology
    • Burnley Horticultural College
    • I.E.C.D. (Lincoln Institute)
    • Philip Institute of Technology
    • Department of Youth, Sport & Recreation (Victoria)
  • 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 childrens play, and playground design to Post Graduate Diploma in Recreation at Philip Institute and to kindergarten trainee teachers (Lincoln Institute).
1979 Established Australian Horticultural Correspondence School.
1979 to present Principal and CEO -Design and management of Advertising & marketing for Australian Correspondence Schools
1980-81 Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, City of Heidelberg
1980-95 Regular writer for "Grass Roots" magazine.
1982-83 Self employed nurseryman and landscape contractor.
1985 to present Developed and managed the AHCS on a full time basis.
1988-92 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
1991-99 Regular writer for the magazines: Queensland Homes and Victoria Homes.
1992-93 Program Organizer, International Plant Propagators Conference, Albury
1993 Study tour/photographing gardens and garden shows in Europe
1994 Wrote & produced five educational videos (using the video production unit of Griffith University, and private facilities in Melbourne).
1994 Wrote Quality Assurance documentation for Australian Correspondence Schools.
1995 Wrote accreditation documentation for Advanced Diplomas in Horticulture, Agriculture and Recreation-Fitness. Achieved accreditation and listing on the National Register for these courses. (ACS later became proudly independent - circa 2000.)
1994-97 Established 9 internet sites for Australian Correspondence Schools, continued developing new courses including computer servicing & ecotourism. (Won awards in mid 97: Pick of the Net from Sofcom, and Majons Select Award)
1998 -present

Writer - Books and Magazines for various publishers 

 2001 - present  Principal, ACS Distance Education UK
 2013 - present Publisher  - ACS Distance Education Publishing

Formal Study:

1969-71      Diploma in Horticultural Science, Burnley Horticultural College, Vic. (now VCAH, Burnley - Melbourne University) Course completed.
1970-72 Certificate in Theology : Sydney Anglican Theological College, by Correspondence 90% completed.
1971 Rotary Youth Leadership Award (approx. 40hrs) Course completed.
1971 YMCA Detached Youth Workers Course (approx. 30 hrs) Course completed.
1972 Bachelor of Science R.M.I.T. -Sociology & Chemistry, incomplete.
1975-76 Supervision Certificate (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology).
Subjects passed include:
  • Supervision 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B
  • Parks Administration A, B.
  • Communications and report Writing
1976-78 Bachelor of Arts (Planning Studies) Footscray Institute of Technology course 50% completed.
Subjects passed include:
  • Urban Studies 1A, 1B
  • Planning Studies 1A, 1B
  • Sociology 1A, 1B
  • Overview of Recreation
  • Recreation Leadership Methods

1979-80 Bachelor of Science, Latrobe University, -Zoology, incomplete.
1994 PADI Open Water Divers Certificate, Aussie Dive, Gold Coast.
1995 Training Skills I, II & III
1995 RPL granted for stream studies in Instructional skills in Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (approx. 250 hrs)
1997 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: These are only a selection. There are many other seminars and minor meetings not listed which have been attended, organized, conducted by or lectured at by John Mason).


1974 Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation National Conference, Adelaide, (5 days) -delegate
1975 International Association for the Children's Right to Play Triannual Conference, Milan Italy, (7 days) -delegate
1976 Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation, National Conference, Melbourne, (5 days) -delegate
1979 Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation, National Conference, Brisbane, (5 days) -organizer of children's play and playground segment
1978-79          Recreational Landscaping Course -Course Coordinator for Burnley Horticultural College (Designed, and managed 3 day course and was main lecturer for two consecutive years)
1979 Technological Advances in Parks Maintenance -designed, coordinated and lectured at 2 day course jointly with Elaine Murphy, Senior Lecturer (for Footscray Institute of Technology)
1980 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)
1982 Play Safety Conference, Melbourne -Speaker
1988 International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Sydney, (3 days) -delegate
1989 International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Hobart, (3 days) -delegate
1990 International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Perth, (3 days) -delegate
1991 International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Canberra, (3 days) -delegate
1992 International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Ballina, (3 days) -delegate
1993 International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Albury, (3 days) -conference program organizer (designed lecture program,coordinated all speakers)
1993 Attended International Garden Festival, Stuttgart, Germany and Hampton Court Flower Show, London, U.K.
1994 International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Twin Waters, Sunshine Coast (delivered one of the introductory session papers).
1995 International Plant Propagators National Conference, Adelaide 1995 Study Tour of Hawaii (August) -Botanic Gardens
1995 Study Tour of New Zealand (November) -Ellerslie Garden Show & Open Gardens
1997 Study Tour of Britain and Germany(June/July -4 shows/exhibitions, over 40 gardens, numerous industry meetings.
1999 Study tour of USA & Canada West Coast
1999- Chairman, International Approval and Registration Centre (IARC)
2002 Tour of UK & Netherlands (4 weeks) visiting shows (Hampton Court & Floriade), gardens, meetings with colleagues, photography etc.)

Keynote Speaker       ISHS International Education Symposium, Perth, Western Australia

 2018  Keynote Speaker     ISHS 2nd World Conference on Beverage Crops, Xian China

Published Work:

Over 650 courses

Over 50 published print books

Over 120 published ebooks

Over 2,000 articles 


  • 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, 2007
  • 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 Fitness 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
  • Growing and Using Vegetables and Herbs Kangaroo/Simon & Schuster  2007
 E Books

 Contributor, Editor and Publisher of around 120 ebooks between 2012 and now, including:

  • Trees and Shrubs for Small Gardens
  • Trees and Shrubs for Warm Places
  • Growing Tropical Plants
  • Garden Design I
  • Garden Design II
  • Starting Garden/Landscape Business
  • The Environment of Play
  • Starting a Nursery or Herb Farm
  • Growing Conifers
  • Organic Growing
  • Trees and Shrubs
  • Tropical Landscaping
  • Roses
  • Pests & Diseases
  • Climbing Plants
  • Growing Ferns
  • What to Plant Where
  • Growing Palms
  • Scented Plants
  • Weeds 
  • Orchids
  • Proteas & Relatives
  • Growing & Knowing Annuals
  • Growing&Knowing Bulbs
  • Landscaping with Aus.Plants
  • Water Gardens
  • Banksias
  • Fuchsias
  • Perennials
  • Shaded Gardens
  • Dianthus/Carnations
  • Grasses
  • Grevilleas
  • Eucalypts
  • Rhododendrons and Azaleas
  • Carnivorous Plants
  • Commercial Hydroponics
  • Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
  • Getting Work in Horticulture
  • Herbs
  • Nuts
  • Capsicums 
  • Lavender 
  • Medicinal Herbs
  • Cucurbits
  • Aquaponics
  • Citrus
  • Strawberries
  • Mushrooms
  • Profitable Farming
  • Farm Management
  • Animal Health 
  • Marine Studies
  • Dog Care
  • Horse Care
  • Poultry
  • Birds
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Working with Animals
  • Cattle Breeds 
  • Feeding Animals
  • Cat Care
  • Bees, Beekeeping & Honey
  • Land Management & Rehab
  • Food Preserving
  • Preserving Meat and Fish
  • Brewing & Wine making
  • Food Preserving
  • Ungulate Animals
  • Rabbits,Rodents &R elatives
  • Carnivore Animals
  • Aerobic Fitness
  • Aquafitness
  • Starting a Business
  • Human Nutrition
  • Business Operations
  • Nutritional Therapy
  • Project Management
  • How to be a Life Coach
  • Getting Work in a Modern World
  • Human Biology Dictionary
  • Modern Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Prof Practice for Consultants
  • Event Management
  • Medical Terminology
  • Learning Tips
  • Working with People
  • Saving a Business
  • Marketing Psychology
  • Occupational Psychology
  • Grief/Crisis Counselling
  • Psychology Dictionary
  • Psychological Profiling
  • Counselling Handbook
  • How Children Think
  • Managing Relationships
  • Health Psychology
  • Addiction Counselling
  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Coping -Negative Emotions
  • Professional Writing
  • English Grammar
  • How to be a Successful Editor
  • Writing a Novel
  • Children’s Writing
  • Technical Writing
  • Creative Writing
  • Photo Techniques & Effects
  • ....and others


1977-79 Your Garden (contributor)
1980 to 1995 Grass Roots (contributor)
1987 to 2003 Garden Guide Monthly Magazine (contributor),
2000 to 2002 Garden Guide Monthly Magazine (Editor)
1992 to 1997 Queensland Homes (contributor)
1992 to 1995 Victoria Homes (contributor)
1993 to 1995 South Australia Homes (contributor)
1999 to 2003 Your Backyard National Gardening Magazine (principal author & editor)
2013-2016  Home Grown Magazine (principal author and editor)
1973-present Occasional contributor to many other publications, both in Australia and overseas (over 40 different 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
    1999-2002 Editor and principal writer of monthly Gardening-Lifestyle magazine (YOUR BACKYARD) for Express Publications in Sydney, Australia
    2000-01 Editor and principal writer of Garden Guide monthly magazine
    2001 -  Editor/owner of Gardening ezine
    2006 - Writer for Garden Guru Newspaper,  Writer for Landscape Contractor Magazine
    2007 -  Major contributor Queensland Homes Outdoor Living Magazine
    2010 - Publisher and Managing Director for ACS Publishing -publishing 20 to 25 ebooks each year
    2013-2016  Garden Editor for Home Grown -National green living magazine distributed across Australia
     2015-present  Board Member of the Australian Garden Council


    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
    • Turf Management
    • Various Staff training videos and promotional videos

    COURSES organized or conducted by J. Mason:
    Melbourne (averaging 4 classes a week for more than a decade from 1973)
    • Main author of over 500 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:
      • Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (C12CN001)
      • Certificate in Horticulture (C12CN002)
      • Advanced Diploma in Recreation-Fitness (C12CN003
      • Advanced Diploma in Horticulture (C12CN004)
      • Advanced Diploma in Agriculture (C12CN005)
    • Designed and conducted hobby courses for Council of Adult Education, Victoria from 1974-81.
      These courses included:
      • Self Sufficiency
      • Hydroponics
      • Landscaping Bush Gardens and more.
    • 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 (organizer/lecturer).



    John Mason with business partners in Sydney (principals of Australian College of Sports and Fitness, Australia College QED and ICI). November 2011
    John Mason with business partners and affiliate college staff, at Academy of Distance Learning, Canterbury, UK, February 2011
    John Mason with Geoff Whiten, Chairman of the Garden Media Guild in the UK, February, 2011
    John Mason together with the Prime Minister of Australia, MP's and fellow board members of the Australian Garden Council, at the AGC launch in Parliament House, Canberra, 25th November, 2015.


    John Mason with fellow delegates at the 2nd World Beverage Crops Symposium, Xian China; where John was a keynote speaker - run by the International Society of Horticultural Science along with Chinese government, and others. October 2018

    John Mason with Queensland MP, Rob Molhoek at the World Beverage Crops Conference, Xian, 2018

    John with other fellows of the Australian Institute of Horticulture at the AIH annual awards dinner on the Gold Coast.