James Hamlyn Willis

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James Hamlyn "Jim" Willis (28 January 1910 – 10 November 1995) was an Australian botanist.[1] He described 64 new species of plants, and published more than 880 works including the landmark two volume A Handbook to plants in Victoria between 1962 and 1973.[2]

Willis was born in Oakleigh, Victoria in 1910.[1] In 1913 he moved with his family to Stanley on the northern coast of Tasmania, Australia where they remained until returning to Victoria in 1924. He attended Melbourne High School and in 1928, following receipt of a scholarship, began studies at the Victorian School of Forestry in Creswick, graduating with a Diploma of Forestry in 1930. For the next seven years he was employed by the Forests Commission of Victoria as a forest officer.[2]

In 1937 Willis joined the National Herbarium of Victoria and commenced studies at the University of Melbourne, graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 1940.[2] Between 1958 and 1959, he held the position of Australian Botanical Liaison Officer at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and in 1961 he was appointed as Assistant Government Botanist for Victoria.[2] Between 1970 and 1972, he was the Acting Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.[2]

He also has a species of eucalypt named after him - Eucalyptus willisii.

From 1967 onwards, the National Herbarium of Victoria has hosted the Jim Willis Studentship in honour of Willis. This is an eight week programme for students to gain research experience during the summer.[3]

In 2000, the Gladstone Bag belonging to J H Willis used to collect specimens on his many field expeditions was uncovered in extraordinary circumstances. It is now part of the Victorian School of Forestry museum collection at Creswick[4]


  1. ^ a b "Willis, James Hamlyn (1910 - 1995)". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Provenance 1 - James Hamlyn Willis". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  3. ^ "Summer science at the Gardens – Jim Willis Studentships". Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Jim Willis's Gladstone bag" (PDF).
  5. ^ IPNI.  J.H.Willis.