Jean Galbraith

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Jean Galbraith (born 28 March 1906 and died 2 January 1999) was an Australian botanist, gardener, writer of children's books and poet.

Jean was born at Tyers, Gippsland, where she lived for the rest of life. The family's sprawling native garden at their cottage "Dunedin" formed the backdrop to her first articles on growing native flowers.[1] As a teenager, Galbraith joined the Field Naturalist Club and began to train herself in botany. Despite her lack of formal qualifications, Galbraith became a highly respected botanist.[2] She was counted an "important and influential woman gardener",[3] and "natural successor" to Edna Walling.[4]

Jean Galbraith used the pseudonym "Correa" for her early works.[5] She first started writing at the age of 19, and was widely published from the age of 26. For 50 years she contributed monthly to two magazines, The Garden Lover and the Victorian Naturalist, as well as occasional articles for The Age.[6] Galbraith collected some of her Garden Lover articles and published them in 1939 as Garden in a Valley'.[2]

The species Prostanthera galbraithiae was named for Jean Galbraith as co-discover of the species and advocate for its protection. In 1936 she donated the first wildflower sanctuary in Victoria, established by the Native Plants Preservation Society of Victoria at Tyers, near Traralgon in Victoria's LaTrobe Valley.[2] She was recipient of the 1970 Australian Natural History Medallion

In addition to poetry Jean Galbraith also wrote the lyrics for hymns, such as "O Christ our Lord whose beauty"[7] "She held a deep Christian (Christadelphian) faith which sustained her at all times".[8]


In all Jean Galbraith wrote ten books:

Botany and gardening:

  • Wildflowers of Victoria 1967
  • A field guide to the wild flowers of south-east Australia 1977
  • A gardener's year 1987
  • A garden lover's journal (1943–1946) 1989
  • Wildflower diary. Winifred Waddell, Jean Galbraith, Elizabeth Cochrane 1976
  • Fruits. Jean Galbraith, John Truscott. 1966

Books for children:

  • Grandma Honeypot 1963
  • The wonderful butterfly; the magic of growth in nature 1968
  • From flower to fruit. Jean Galbraith, Moira Pye. 1965


  • Garden in a valley, Jean Galbraith - Biography & Autobiography 1985
  • Doongalla restored: the story of a garden 1991 123pp (First published in the The Australian Garden Lover' between 1939 and 1941 under the title 'Two and a Garden')
  • Kindred spirits: a botanical correspondence. Anne Latreille, Jean Galbraith, Australian Garden History Society 1999


She also wrote regularly for the NSW School Magazine, ran a series of broadcasts on the ABC for children, and in 1964 and 1965, contributed a monthly page for the Educational Magazine called 'Beauty in Distress – a plea for the preservation of our native plants'.[2]


  1. ^ Author Meredith Fletcher working on biography of Jean Galbraith ABC 19 March 2009
  2. ^ a b c d Holmes, K., (1997) 'A literary gardener', Australian Garden History, 9 (1), pp. 4-7.
  3. ^ Bev Roberts. Treasures of the State Library of Victoria 2003 Page158
  4. ^ Obituary. The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 1999
  5. ^ John Arnold, John A. Hay, Sally Batten The bibliography of Australian literature, Volume 2 2001 p119
  6. ^ Trisha Dixon Under the Spell of the Ages: Australian Country Gardens 2007 p64
  7. ^ (set to music by Ian Hyndman) in Hymns from Christadelphian Conferences and Youth Conferences,1957-1984
  8. ^ Helen I. Aston. Jean Galbraith 28 March 1906-2 January 1999 A Tribute The Victorian naturalist, Volumes 116-118 1999 p73
  • Latreille, A. (2002), 'Galbraith, Jean ('Correa')', in R. Aitken and M. Looker (eds), Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, pp. 241–42.

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