Kate Delaporte

Dr Kate Delaporte

Curator Waite Arboretum

Waite Precinct

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Kate is the Curator of the Waite Arboretum and Waite Conservation Reserve, a position that enables her to implement her knowledge of trees and Australian native plants, her skills in working with volunteers and community groups, and grow her various research interests. Kate’s main interest is improving Australian native plants for horticulture by research into propagation, cultivation, and breeding and selecting new varieties and species. She also has interests in supporting indigenous knowledge of food/medicines from plants; renewing the Urban Forest, sustainable agriculture and the environment; amenity horticulture (nursery, cut flower, garden design), general horticulture (in particular small fruits and new crops such as essential oils, herbs, spices and Asian vegetables); re-forestation and plant genome conservation.
Kate has added interests in promoting and enhancing opportunities for women in the workplace, particularly in Science (Agriculture and Horticulture), and promoting STEM at all school levels.

Kate grew up on a mixed farming rural property in the South East of South Australia. After finishing High School, she completed studies in Horticulture at TAFE and worked for various floricultural and horticultural enterprises before enrolling at the University of Adelaide in 1992 to study Agricultural Science. Her Honours project investigated postharvest vase life and genetic relationships between different Banksia species. In 1996, she was awarded a PhD scholarship to investigate Ornamental Eucalypts, sponsored by the Playford Trust. In 2000, she was awarded her PhD for her thesis entitled “Eucalypts for Ornamental Horticulture – selection, interspecific hybridisation and postharvest testing”. Also in 2000, she travelled to Europe and California on a Churchill Fellowship to investigate the use of Australian Plants in regions with a Mediterranean climate.

Dr Delaporte was employed at the University of Adelaide as a Postdoctoral Research fellow on the Ornamental Eucalypts Development Program, with Professor Margaret Sedgley, from 2000-2007. This research was funded by RIRDC grants with further support from industry collaborators and the Playford memorial trust. During this period, Dr Delaporte also lectured in various horticultural and plant breeding subjects: Production Horticulture, Horticultural Science, Postharvest Horticulture and Marketing, and Principles of Plant Breeding.

In 2007 she took up a teaching position in Japan for six months, where she taught about Australian horticulture at the Hyogo Prefecture Awaji Landscape Planning and Horticulture Academy (ALPHA). On her return, she took up employment at Scholefield Robinson Horticultural Services, Parkside, as a Technical consultant, working on a range of projects and with numerous clients. Whilst there she undertook training in Eco-mapping with Eco-conseil and became an accredited practitioner.  During this time, further RIRDC funding from 2008-2011 allowed for work to continue into selection and development of new varieties on a limited basis.

In July 2010, she returned to the University of Adelaide with Drs Cassandra Collins and Michelle Wirthensohn, on a Horticulture Australia Funded project “Gaining a better understanding of Ornamental Eucalypts”.

Most recently, Kate’s research with ornamental eucalypts has progress to the commercialisation phase, and she has received over $1M in funding to progress selected lines through to a commercial outcome. Funding has been awarded funding from the Australian Federal Government's AusIndustry Entrepreneur programs: Commercial Accelerator and Accelerating Commercialisation, in partnership with Adelaide Research and Innovation, as well as the University's Commercial Accelerator Scheme and Bio Innovation SA.

Kate’s experience with development of new and novel Australian plants for horticulture has attracted interest from other new plant industries, and in 2015 she engaged in a research project on the potential development of a Manuka Honey in South Australia, supported by PIRSA. She has co-supervised a PhD Candidate in the area of benchmarking Kunzea pomifera, a promising native berry.

In 2011, Kate was nominated to the Board of the Playford Memorial Trust, where she participates in the Scholarships Committee and the selection of the Playford Trust TAFESA awardees.

  • 2017-2022 CRC for Honey Bee Products "Leptospermum selection for South Australian Bioactive Honey Industry" $281,000
  • 2015-2017 Accelerating Commercialisation “Ornamental eucalypts – turning an Australian icon into an export opportunity $500,000 matched funding
  • 2014-2015 Commercialisation Australia Proof of Concept grant “Ornamental eucalypt varieties” $500,000 matched funding
  • 2013-2014 BioSA Project "Ornamental Eucalypt Development Program" $101,000
  • 2013-2015 UA ARI CAS "Field trials for proof-of-concept of novel ornamental eucalypt hybrids produced from tissue culture" $75,000 + $25,000
  • 2010-2013 HAL Project "Gaining a better understanding of Ornamental Eucalypts"
  • 2008-2011 RIRDC Project "Progress towards commercial release of ornamental eucalypt varieties"
  • 2004-2007 RIRDC Project "Development of novel eucalypt hybrids" RIRDC Publication No: 08/018
  • 1999-2004 RIRDC Project "Breeding of eucalypt bud and flower lines" RIRDC Publication No: 04/163
  • Horticultural Internships to support Bachelor of Agricultural Science students learning in horticultural techniques
  • Plant Production & Global Climate Change III 
  • Masters in Biotech Molecular Plant Breeding, and practicals in
  • Plant Breeding III practicals
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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 Principal Supervisor Leptospermum Selection for South Australian Bioactive Honey Production. Genetic Diversity, Environmental Interaction and Plant Improvement Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Tate Jason James Hancox
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2013 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Pre-breeding of an Indigenous Crop in Australia, Kunzea pomifera (muntries): Horticultural Production and Genetic Diversity Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Chi Mai Do
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  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2011 - ongoing Member Playford Trust Inc Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2015 - 2016 PIRSA Scientific research Australia
    2015 - 2015 Private Investment company United States
  • Position: Curator Waite Arboretum
  • Phone: 83137405
  • Email: kate.delaporte@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 7102
  • Campus: Waite
  • Building: Urrbrae House
  • Org Unit: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

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