Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Prof. Davis passed away after a very brief illness on 21 September 1993, shortly before her 82nd birthday, at Port Macquarie, N.S.W., where she had moved after her retirement from the University of New England.
Dr Davis was well known for her book Systematic Embryology of Angiosperms, which was published in 1966 but is still quoted widely, and for her elegant research on the embryology of Australian Asteraccae and the genus Eucalyptus.
Gwenda started her academic career in 1945 as a plant taxonomist at the then New England University College at Armidale, affiliated with the University of Sydney, and she was largely responsible for setting up the Department of Botany on the campus. After a disastrous fire in 1958, which destroyed the building that housed the Botany Department, she switched her research interests to plant embryology. She visited the leading centres for the study of embryology in the world, including long periods spent with Prof. P. Maheshwari at the University of Delhi.
At New England, she is fondly remembered for her wide knowledge of Australian botany, her strict but fair treatment of students mid junior colleagues and most importantly for her humane and kind nature.
She is survived by three children, one of whom, Margaret, is married to the [then] director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Prof. Carrick, Chambers.
University of New England, Armidale.
Extracted from Australian Sytematic Botany Newsletter No.77 December 1993