I met Rob through Lorna Gillespie, who lives with husband Ken in Yarrawonga. She had written a request to the Royal Horticultural Society magazine The Garden, asking for seeds of violets. I sent some seed of Viola hirta, one of the speccies mentioned, and a covering letter attempting to answer some related queries. As it happened, Lorna was making the request not for herself, but for Rob - who lives reasonably near (in Australian terms) - in Melbourne.
That started Rob and Lorna and myself letter-writing and hence getting to know each other better. I have to admit I have let the letter writing slip the last couple of years, and email has not made up for it. But I have been lucky enough to have a visit from Rob, with his mate Barry, when they were touring through England a couple of years ago. And this February I was in Melbourne on business just long enough to sneak a morning with Rob - very pleasant but for the inevitable rush of trying to do so much in such a short time.
On that visit I took a few photos; one I like shows Rob faking relaxation on a bench in his full-of-goodies garden.
I look forward to meeting Rob again wherever and whenever.
And I have not forgotten his request to find some good quality illustrations of cultivated violets for his book(s)...
Update 10-oct-98: Rob has made some great contacts, Randall somebody and Kevin Theile, who are helping his pursuit, for others as well as himself, of Viola species in the field (I guess 'the bush' in Australian dingo lingo) and in herbarium.