Editorial | Published:

Baron Sir Ferdinand Von Mueller

Nature volume 54, page 596 | Download Citation



NEWS of the death of this distinguished botanist and geographer reached London on the 10th inst., causing some surprise, as it was not known here that his health was failing. Born at Rostock in 1825, and educated at Kiel, he emigrated to Australia in 1847, in consequence of hereditary symptoms of phthisis; having previously lost his parents. Mueller belonged to the school of botanists, now fast diminishing in numbers, who began their studies in the field instead of in the laboratory. Before leaving Europe, he devoted much time between 1840 and 1847 to the investigation of the flora of Schleswig-Holstein. On his arrival in Australia, he took service as a druggist's assistant in Adelaide— a post he seems to have held for a brief period, as he was soon engaged in exploring South Australia. From 1848 to 1852 he travelled at his own expense. At this date he was appointed, by Governor La Trobe, to the newly-created post of Government botanist, and soon visited the previously unexplored Australian Alps. About this period he entered into correspondence with the late Sir William Hooker, which led to the publication of the results of his earlier journeys in Hooker's Kew Journal of Botany, beginning with the fifth volume. In 1854 the Victorian Institute was founded1—the first institution of its kind, I believe, in Australia proper, though Tasmania had its Royal Society some three years earlier; and Mueller was one of the first and most prolific contributors to its Transactions. It was here that he published the new plants collected in the Australian Alps.

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