WorldSkills Australia florists make ‘gloriosa’ showing at Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

The 2016 Melbourne International Flower & Garden (MIFG) Show was a busy event for some of WorldSkills Australia’s resident florists.

National competitors Chevonne Nicholas and Elizabeth Lilburn presented on stage with fellow student Ellie Feery and their training provider, Marjorie Milner on the Saturday afternoon as part of the school’s 70th year celebrations, wowing the audience by creating unique displays live on stage.

“I thought l would be really nervous, but l found that l wasn’t at all – I just enjoyed the opportunity to show my designs with two other great florists to the general public,” says Chevonne.

“I created two designs: My first being a freestyle design based on a natural wooden base, using cymbidium orchids, billy buttons, spear grass, James Storie orchids, hypericum berries, artificial old man’s beard, artificial anthurium leaves with dried lotus pods completing the design.  My second design featured a hand-held wire structure which l designed and created prior to the show, using Sweet Panache roses, pink sedum, white carnations, hypericum berries with copper wire balls as an embellishment.”

The demonstration wasn’t Marjorie Milner’s only work at the MIFG Show.  Elizabeth also participated in the Advanced Student Competition, where she earned the silver medal for her stunning display that suited the theme ‘International Day of Forests’.

“The biggest challenge was the time limit and creating my piece with the potential of a large crowd of people around,” says Elizabeth.  “These turned out to be the biggest driving forces to present my design, as they were encouraging and turned my nerves into a positive energy.”


WorldSkills Australia judge for Floristry, Nicole Gibson was also hard at work at the show, winning a gold medal herself by creating a stunning large-scale floral display in just two days as part of the Australian Association of Floral Designers.  “I always start thinking about next year’s flower show design as soon as the show finishes,” says Nicole.

“This year’s particular design started at Bunnings when I was looking for inspiration for an upcoming demonstration I was doing.  Orange and grey scourers were on the clearance table, and I looked at them and thought, ‘I could do something with these!’  I made a wedding bouquet and a wall hanging, and the wall hanging was the inspiration for the MIFG Show design.”

“Chevonne, Liz and Ellie gave a fabulous demonstration of floristry designs to the great enjoyment of the audience,” says Greg Milner of Marjorie Milner College.

“It is the 70th year of training for Marjorie Milner College whose students have previously represented Australia at the WorldSkills International Competitions.  The opportunities WorldSkills Australia presents to our students is fantastic.  We wish them every success.”

In just a few short months, Chevonne and Elizabeth will face their next big challenge, the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition.  They join a long list of previous WorldSkills Australia competitors, judges and volunteers that have benefit from the experience of industry events like the MIFG Show.

“Experiences like the MIFG Show are very important in a students and apprentices development for the WorldSkills Australia National Competition,” says Nicole.  “It helps to develop their organisational skills and it also increases their confidence in their abilities.  The feedback from the judges when competing is also invaluable to their development.  Demonstrating on stage also helps with their confidence.”

The National Competition will be held from Thursday, 6 to Saturday, 8 October at Melbourne Showgrounds.  Tickets are FREE – to register, visit: