George William FrancisPrint Page Print this page

30-June-2019 (Peter F Williams)
30-June-2019 (Peter F Williams)

Photographs supplied by Bryan Cole / Peter F Williams
The monument commemorates George Willam Francis, who was first director of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. 

Francis grew up reading Latin and French and in addition to his main interest in Botanical Science he developed the skills of draughting, surveying and engraving. By the time he was 21, he had travelled to Europe and collected specimens and had established himself as a clear, fluent and impressive speaker on botany and “other departments of sciences”.

Encouraged by Caroline Chisholm, he made the decision to emigrate to the colony of South Australia, where the family arrived in 1849 aboard the ‘Louisa Baillie'.

He worked tirelessly to achieve his dream of creating a botanic garden whilst surveying and valuing land for the city council. He designed and planted Victoria Square and the four surrounding squares of Adelaide and later he was asked to supervise the planting of trees and shrubs for the Lunatic Asylum, hospital and Government House.

In March 1855 Francis was appointed as Superintendent of the Botanic Gardens and became the first Director when the gardens were officially opened to the public in 1857. Francis established the first herbarium and botanical library in Adelaide. He also made the first olive oil in South Australia for which he won an honourable mention at the great Exhibition of London in 1851 and he left a considerable legacy as a collector of seeds, plants and cuttings, including the sultana vine from Sir William Hooker from Kew Gardens.

On Friday we had an opportunity of seeing the brass plate about to be affixed to the obelisk in the Botanic Garden to to the memory of the late Mr. G. W. Francis. The plate, which has been exceedingly well engraved by Mr. Schmidt, of Gawler-place, bears the following inscription:— "In remembrance of the late G. W. Francis, Esq., F.L.S., F.H.S., First Director of this
Garden, by whom it was planned and laid out in the year 1855."

The plate is oval in form, and will be surrounded, when finished, with a wreath in imitation of laurel. When thus completed it will form a kindly and appropriate recognition of the services rendered to the Botanic Garden and to Adelaide by the gentleman whose loss it commemorates.
Excerpt from South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide), 29 May 1866.



Address:North Terrace, Adelaide Botanic Gardens , Adelaide, 5000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.920411
Long: 138.610963
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1866
Front Inscription

In remembrance of the late G.W. Francis Esq. F.L.S  F.H.S.

First Director of this Garden by whom it was planned and laid out in the year 1855. 

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au