Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born at Brighton, Melbourne, Victoria, in 1917, died in Goulburn, New South Wales, in 1977.
She graduated from the University of Sydney in 1937 with a degree in petrology and was Research Assistant in the Department of Botany at the Sydney University in 1941 where she worked on atmospheric pollen.
While she concentrated on physics and geology as an undergraduate, she went on to take a postgraduate course in botany, achieving an MSc in 1947. Her thesis was entitled 'Vegetation of the Wianamatta Shale and Associated Soil Types'.
She completed a PhD at the University of Manchester in the UK in 1952 on the topic of 'The quantitative morphology and ecology of Eriophorum angustifolium Roth'. after which she returned to the Botany Department of the University of Sydney.
She was Ecologist with the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority in the 1950s, but left amid conflicts over policy towards development and future erosion.
She was appointed Botanist at the Canberra Botanic Gardens (now Australian National Botanic Gardens), Australian Capital Territory, in June 1960, succeeding Erwin Gauba. When she joined the Gardens, she negotiated the continuing use of a wooden hut in the Kosciusko State Park, called 'Happy Jack's Hut', as an alpine field collecting station. It thereafter became known as Dr Phillips' Hut.
She was largely responsible for a major acceleration in the development of the herbarium (CBG) and for devising a rigorous cross-referencing system tying the living collections to vouchers in the herbarium. She collected widely, both for living collections and herbarium purposes, in southern, eastern and western Australia.
For a couple of years from 1967 she undertook some teaching of botany at Signadou Teachers College (now the Australian Catholic University) in Canberra, while still employed by the Botanic Gardens.
She retired from the Canberra Botanic Gardens under unfortunate circumstances in December 1973 at the age of 56 due to problems with alcohol and performance. She died in Kenmore Mental Hospital, Goulburn, in 1977.
Most of her collections were lodged in CBG, now transferred to CANB.
Read her views on the Canberra Botanic Gardens and it's Herbarium here.
Source: Extracted from: A.E.Orchard (1999) A History of Systematic
Botany in Australia, in Flora of Australia Vol.1, 2nd ed.,
ABRS. [consult for source references]
M.Fagg, personal communication, 1/3/2016. Margaret Mary Brown, pers com 12/5/2016; Collecting map from AVH 7/4/2015. JStor website: http://plants.jstor.org/stable/10.5555/al.ap.person.bm000379075.
Portrait Photo: 1962, B&W print held by the Australian National Botanic Gardens
25,398 collections are listed