Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born on March 7, 1906, in the County of Donegal Ireland, died May 26 1988 in Canberra.
He had his tertiary education at the Queen's University of Belfast, where he graduated BSc in 1927 with botany as his major subject. He subsequently specialised in plant physiology, obtaining his MSc in 1929 at the early age of 23.
Pat was one of four appointees who came out from Britain early in 1930 to join the staff of the newly established Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, subsequently to become the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
His initial appointment was to the position of assistant botanist (weeds), but he also had the additional responsibility of looking after the embryonic herbarium, since developed into the Australian National Herbarium — a major repository for reference specimens of Australian plants, and an important centre for research on Australian flora.
There was a change of title and duties in 1932 to reflect more appropriately his special training and skills in the field of plant physiology. An initial task was to try to develop laboratory tests which might be used to assess the relative drought-resistance of varieties of wheat and other cereals, thus eliminating or minimising the need for extensive and unreliable field trials and providing a reliable basis for plant breeding.
Subsequently, until World War II, he worked on many projects, among them studies of flax and other fibre plants as part of CSIRO war-related research. He was away from CSIRO during much of the war period. He enlisted in the RAAF in October, 1943, rapidly obtained his commission, saw active service in Papua-New Guinea as flight lieutenant and acting squadron leader, and was discharged in January, 1946.
After the war, he embarked on investigations on tobacco-growing. He left the CSIRO in 1956.
Source: Extracted from: Hartley, William (1988) obituary. http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/calvert-joseph-patrick-pat-23068
Portrait Photo: Extracted from: XXXX