John Carne BidwillPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by John Huth

The species of Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii) were planted to commemorate John Carne Bidwill, former Commissioner of Wide Bay and colonial botanist. 

In September 1838 Carne arrived in Sydney, where he joined a commercial firm while waiting for the survey of land that he had been allotted. Sent to New Zealand, he reached the Bay of Islands in February 1839, visited Rotorua and Taupo, explored the spurs of Tongariro and collected botanical specimens which included some new discoveries. He was recalled to Sydney in April, but returned to Port Nicholson in 1840; during his stay in New Zealand he collected plants from the mountains of Nelson. His firm then sent him to Moreton Bay, where his letters concerned little except plants; writing to his friend, Captain Phillip Parker King.  

In February 1841, having established a reputation as a botanist, he sailed for England with a letter from King to Sir William Hooker at Kew.  His Rambles in New Zealand (London, 1841), which was reprinted in 1952 in Christchurch, contains observations on agricultural practices and the effects of firing.

He returned to Sydney in 1844, and in February 1845 was sent to Tahiti for a year. In September 1847 he was given charge of the Sydney Botanic Gardens as director and government botanist. By some misunderstanding, the Colonial Office gave the position to Charles Moore who arrived in January 1848. Governor Sir Charles FitzRoy sent for Bidwill and expressed his sorrow at his supercession. Bidwill in a letter to King showed no resentment.

At his own request he was appointed commissioner of crown lands at Wide Bay. He wrote in 1849 that he had more than £500 a year for doing what was only a pleasure. At Tinana, now a suburb of Maryborough, he began to plant a botanic garden. While surveying a road from Wide Bay to Moreton Bay he was lost in the bush for eight days and died at his home from his privations on 16 March 1853. Most of his plants were transferred to Sydney after his death and the Tinana garden no longer exists. The genus Bidwillia and some twelve species of native Australian and New Zealand plants commemorate his name.


Address:Alice Street, Botanic Gardens, Bunya Walk, Brisbane, 4000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.473251
Long: 153.030854
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Trees
Monument Theme:People


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