BAKER, Richard Thomas (1854 - 1941)
Born at Woolwich, England, on 1 December 1854, died Sydney NSW on 14 July 1941.
He arrived in Australia in 1879, and in 1880 joined the staff of Newington College, Sydney, as science and art master. In 1888 he obtained an appointment at the Sydney Technological Museum, and in 1898 became curator and economic botanist. Baker, who retired from the Museum in 1921, was lecturer in forestry at Sydney University between 1913 and 1924. He was a member of the Royal and Linnean societies of New South Wales, in whose journals he published more than 100 papers, which include descriptions of many new species of eucalypts.
His other publications include:
- A Research on the Eucalypts, especially in regard to their Essential Oils (1902), with H. G. Smith
- A Research on the Pines of Australia (1910), with H. G. Smith
- Woodfibres of Some Australian Timbers (1924), with H. G. Smith
- Building and Ornamental Stones of New South Wales (1908)
- Cabinet Timbers of Australia (1913)
- The Australian Flora in Applied Art - Part 1, the Waratah (1915)
- Building and Ornamental Stones of Australia (1915)
- Hardwoods of Australia and their Economics (1919).
He was awarded the Mueller Medal by the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science (1921), and the Clarke Medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales (1922).
Obituary, J. Roy, Soc. N.S.W, vol. 76 (1942).
Economic botanist, artist. Arrived Sydney, NSW, 1879. Science & art master at Newington College, Sydney, 1880; in 1888 appointed to Sydney Technological Museum, becoming curator & economic botanist 1901-21. Research esp. on economic use of pines & eucalypts, most jointly with chemist H.G. Smith (Research on Eucalypts ... 1902; Research on Pines of Australia ... 1910; Research on Eucalypts of Tasmania ... 1912).
More than 300 collections related to this work, e.g. Braidwood 1889, 1890, Heathcote Apr.1890, Bexhill Feb. 1891, Bylong Ck, Goulburn R. Nov. 1892, Mudgee 1893,Ballina Feb. 1894, Mullumbimby June 1894, Colo Vale Dec. 1894, 'Chincoggin Mtn' May 1895, Murrumbo Ck Sept. 1895, Rylstone Sept. 1895, Mt WilsonApr. 1896, Hornsby, Tintenbar Oct. 1896, Tumbulgum Aug. 1897, AlstonvilleSept. 1897; Never Never (E of Rylstone) Oct. 1897, Coricudgy Ra. Oct. 1897, Wentworth Falls Jan. 1898, Barbers Ck July 1898, Bylong 1898; Monga Sept.1898; also Tas. & arid regions.
Specimens mainly at NSW, NSWF, also A, BM,BRI, DBN, E, K, LY, MEL, PERTH.
Commemorated in Hakea (drew plate with protologue). Published over 100 papers & books, e.g. Cabinet Timbers of Australia (1913). Promoted Waratah as national floral emblem.
Clarke Medal 1922.
Obit.: A.R.Penfold Aust. J. Science 4: 17-18 (1941).
Source: George, A.S. (2009) Australian Botanist's Companion, Four Gables Press, WA. [consult for source references]