BAILEY, Frederick Manson (1827-1915)

BAILEY, Frederick Manson (1827-1915)
son of John Bailey, nurseryman and seedsman, was born in London on 8 March 1827. His father went with his family to Australia in 1838 and arrived at Adelaide on 22 March 1839. He was appointed colonial botanist soon afterwards, and was asked to form a botanic garden. Later he resigned, began farming, and subsequently started a plant nursery at Adelaide In these ventures he was assisted by his son, F. M. Bailey, who in 1858 went to New Zealand and took up land in the Hutt Valley. In 1861 he went to Sydney and in the same year started a seedsman's business in Brisbane. For some years he was collecting in various parts of Queensland, and he also contributed articles to the newspapers on plant life. In 1874 he published a Handbook to the Ferns of Queensland, and in the following year was made botanist to the board appointed to inquire into the diseases of live stock and plants. In connexion with this, Bailey in 1879 brought out An Illustrated Monograph of the Grasses of Queensland. He was afterwards put in charge of the botanical section of the Queensland museum, in 1881 was made colonial botanist of Queensland, and held this position until his death. He published in 1881 The Fern World of Australia, and in 1883 appeared A Synopsis of the Queensland Flora, a work of nearly 900 pages to which supplementary volumes were added in later years. This work was superseded by The Queensland Flora, published in six volumes between 1899 and 1902 with an index published three years later. In the meantime there had been published in 1897 A Companion for the Queensland Student of Plant Life and Botany Abridged, a revised reissue of two earlier pamphlets. Among other works of Bailey was A Catalogue of the Indigenous and Naturalised Plants of Queensland published in 1890. This was expanded into a Comprehensive Catalogue of Queensland Plants, Both Indigenous and Naturalised, which appeared with many illustrations in 1912. Bailey died on 25 June 1915, working practically to the end in spite of his 88 years. He married in 1856 Anna Maria, daughter of the Rev. T. Waite. A son, J. F. Bailey, who survived him was successively director of the Brisbane and Adelaide botanic gardens. Bailey was awarded the Clarke medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1902, and was created C.M.G. in 1911. His name has been attached to about 50 species of plants by fellow botanists, of which perhaps the best known is Acacia baileyana. A list of his writings will be found in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland for 1916, p. 7.
Bailey was a kindly man of great industry who did very valuable work on the Queensland flora. He was devoted to his work; on one occasion when his office was dispensed with during a financial depression, he continued to cheerfully carry on, as he felt the work must go on whether a salary were provided or not. There was a public protest and he was soon reinstated. He was very interested in the economic side of botany, and his advice was much sought by fruit-growers and others. He takes high rank among Australian botanists.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 1916, p. 3; The Brisbane Courier, 26 June 1915; Journal and Proceedings Royal Society of New South Wales, 1921, p. 152.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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