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Photographs supplied by John Huth
The room commemorates Janet Cosh (1901 - 1989), a local botanist who collected, preserved and catalogued the plants of the Southern Highlands and the Illawarra regions.

Miss Cosh, a resident of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, was an educated woman with a variety of interests. Her passion for natural history and botany was inspired by her parents and grandparents. In particular, her maternal grandmother Louisa Atkinson was a botanist, natural historian and writer. Miss Atkinson collected for Rev. Dr. W. Woolls and F Mueller until her untimely death in 1872. 

In the late 1960s, after spending many years documenting the history of her local area, Miss Cosh, by then nearly 70 years of age, turned her energies to the study of botany. During the next 17 years, Miss Cosh made significant contributions to plant taxonomy providing a rigorous basis for understanding the ecology and biodiversity of many native species of flora in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. As an amateur botanist, she was highly respected and was often in consultation with professional organisations such NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service and taxonomists at the National Herbarium of NSW, the Australian National Herbarium and the CSIRO.

She was an environmentalist and contributed to the establishment of Cecil Hoskins Reserve, Stingray Swamp and Robertson Nature Reserve. Miss Cosh compiled many species lists which have been included in natural history booklets and publications relevant to the Southern Highlands in particular, Morton Nation Park. Just prior to her death in 1989, Miss Cosh (aged 88) had turned her attentions to the South East Forests of NSW making several trips to the area with her friend Rachelle to document the impact of forestry practices in that region.

On her death, Miss Cosh bequeathed funds and resources to the University of Wollongong to establish a regional Herbarium. Her hope was to facilitate botanical research, teaching, expertise in plant identification and the management of native vegetation in a regional context. Miss Cosh’s botanical contributions which have been collated and preserved include an herbarium of 1,600 specimens, nearly 2,000 botanical illustrations, a library, numerous field notebooks, photographs, vegetation surveys and maps. Her collections included excellent examples of recycling using envelopes, paper, stocking inserts, old Christmas cards and even the reverse side of her Father’s watercolour paintings to record notes, drawings and mount specimens. A number of her rare books are now stored in the Michael Birt Library, University of Wollongong. Miss Cosh also prepared an herbarium for the staff at Morton National Park and bequeathed funds to the National Park Foundation some of which were used to establish the Janet Cosh Room at the Fitzroy Falls Visitors Centre as an education resource for the community.


Address:Nowra Road, National Parks and Wildlife Service Building, Fitzroy Falls, 2577
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.646927
Long: 150.482844
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 29th March, 2000
Front Inscription

Janet Cosh Memorial Room

Plaque :

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service 

The Janet Cosh Memorial Room sponsored by the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife was officially opened on 29 March 2000 by the Hon Bob Debus MP Minister for the Environment

Brian Gilligan  Director-General
Matt Brown MP Member for Kiama

Plaque :

Janet Cosh Memorial Room

This room is dedicated to the memory of Janet Cosh, a respected local botanist, who spent the latter years of her life collecting, preserving and cataloguing the plants of the Sydney sandstone - in particular the Southern Highlands and the Illawarra.

The Janet Cosh Memorial Room contains a herbarium inspired by the work of Janet Cosh (compiled by students from the Univeristy of Wollongong), copies of Janet`s illustrations and some of her tools and artifacts, celebrating the legacy of this committed botanist.  This room also contains displays of plants of the Sydney sandstone, building on Janet`s commitment to help others appreciate their local environment.

Janet was a great friend to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and on her death bequeathed a portion of her estate to the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife (the independent fundraising organisation for the NPWS) to continue her work in conservation.

The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife has generousl;y sponsored the Janet Cosh Memorial Room in her honour.  It is their hope that visitors to Fitzroy Falls will learn more about Janet`s work and in doing so will develop an appreciation of the wonders of Australian native plants.

We are gratefull to the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and the Janet Cosh Herbarium Committee at the University of Wollongong for their generous donations and support in establishing the Janet Cosh Memorial Room.  We hope you enjoy your visit.


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