Skip to main content

Baron Ferdinand von Mueller
, c.1890

by Charles Troedel (printer) after Robert Wendel

lithograph (sheet: 55.7 cm x 37.6 cm)

Sir Ferdinand Jakob Heinrich von Mueller KCMG (1825–1896), botanist, trained in pharmacy and botany in his native Germany before emigrating to Adelaide in 1847. Immediately, he set about recording South Australian flora. Appointed government botanist in Melbourne in 1853, over the next few years he collected specimens of much of Victoria’s native vegetation, spending many months in previously-unexplored alpine country. As botanist to the North Australian Exploring Expedition in 1855, he travelled 8000 km in 16 months, identifying some 800 new species. In 1857 he was appointed director of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, but their progress was slow and he was replaced in 1873. Seeing both the commercial potential of native forests, and the need to preserve them, von Mueller wrote more than 800 papers on Australian botany; his substantial works include Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae (1858–1882), The Natural Capabilities of the Colony of Victoria (1875) and Eucalyptographia (1879–1884). He was a fellow of the Royal Geographical, Linnean and Royal Societies and won a Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1888.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2013
Accession number: 2013.86