Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Dr William Hillebrand came to South Australia for a short 6-month visit in 1849 and then left for the Phillipines and Hawaii, his eventual home.
Hillebrand was born on 13 November 1821 at Nieheim, Westphalia. After receiving his medical degree at Heidelberg, he commenced practice at Paderborn, but the onset of pulmonary tuberculosis "induced him to search for a more healthful climate".
Hillebrand made a few collections in 1849 from near the mouth of the River Murray and Lake Alexandrina, and in the vicinity of Reedy Creek, South Australia. Two plants, Veronica hillebrandii and Phebalium hillebrandii honour him.
After arriving in Hawaii in 1851, Hillebrand made his mark by establishing the fine botanical gardens in Honolulu. He was an acquaintance of Mueller and Behr and reputedly first met them in Adelaide. In the last half the nineteenth century, Hillebrand sent much dried plant material (of rare Hawaiian plants) to the Melbourne Herbarium. In subsequent years, many of' these Hawaiian species became extinct and their only known plant material in the world is that housed at the National Herbarium, Melbourne.
Dr Hillebrand spent the last years of his life back in Heidelberg where
he died in 1886. His most celebrated publication "The Flora of the Hawaiian
Islands", was published posthumously by his son in 1887.
Extracted from notes by Darrell N. Kraehenbuehl