Karen Wilson Karen_Wilson at RBGSYD.GOV.AU
Tue Aug 5 17:19:15 CDT 1997

     Vale Lawrie Johnson

     To all colleagues who knew Lawrie Johnson

     Sadly, I must let you know that Lawrie died on 1 August 1997.

     Johnson's career was wholly at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney,
     apart from a year as Australian Botanial Liaison Officer at Kew.  He
     was Botanist 1948--1972, Director 1972--1985 and Honorary Research
     Associate 1986--1997.  On his retirement he was appointed as Director

     Jointly with Lindsay Pryor of the Australian National University, and
     colleagues Ken Hill and Don Blaxell, he was responsible for a major
     review of Australia's largest and most characteristic tree group, the
     eucalypts, distinguishing many new species and developing a
     classification of all the species, as well as revising many groups of
     Eucalyptus and Corymbia.  I collaborated with him in studies of
     Proteaceae, Myrtaceae, producing worldwide classifications and
     accounts of their evolution.  Our joint work on Restionaceae is still
     unfinished.  With Karen Wilson he worked extensively on Casuarinaceae
     and Juncaceae. These were the major projects among many.

     At the Royal Botanic Gardens his directorship resulted in very
     significant developments in the scientific programs, better facilities
     for the scientific and community programs and the collections, as well
     as the development of two satellite gardens.

     Lawrie's colleagues had celebrated his 70th birthday with a
     festschrift issue of the Gardens' scientific journal Telopea, with
     many international contributions.  The University of Sydney included
     him among the notable graduates featured on its home page on the World
     Wide Web.

     Many of you may have heard that he was diagnosed in February this year
     with multiple brain tumours, presumably derived from a melanoma.
     After radiotherapy he showed remarkable recovery and worked actively
     on botanical projects in his last weeks.  Sadly that recovery was not
     sustained and he experienced a convulsive seizure after which, over
     the last few days, he did not fully regain consciousness.

     He went as he would have wished, working actively on the
     classification of eucalypts (on manuscripts for his joint work with
     Ken Hill), and indeed planning future research on these species, to
     within a few hours of his last conscious time.

     He is survived by his wife Merle, who was always such a strong support
     to him, sons Chris, Nicholas, Quentin and Sandy, daughter Sylvia and
     grandchildren Melissa, young Quentin, Madison, Miles, Hugh, Claire,
     Angharad and Callum.

     Barbara Briggs
     Senior Assistant Director
     Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

     (bgb at

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