Centenary of the Death of George William FrancisPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren
The plaque commemorates the centenary of the death of George Willam Francis (1800 - 1865), 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.


Address:North Terrace, Adelaide Botanic Gardens , Adelaide, 5000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.918983
Long: 138.609678
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 9th August, 1965
Front Inscription

The George William Francis Arborand Glasshouses

Erected 1864

This plaque was placed by the Board of Governors of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens to honour the memory of the Garden's first Director  G. W. Francis, Esq.,  F.L.S,  F.H.S., F.G.S., F.R.S. (S.A.) to mark the centenary of his death

9th. August 1965

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