Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born at Aylsham, Norfolk, England, and murdered by aborigines at Percy Island, Queensland, 15th October, 1854.
He was a collector of objects of Australian natural history, which he sold in England and elsewhere. He devoted himself entirely to this work and met his death at an. early age in this occupation. He specially devoted himself to birds, shells and plants.
Collections of dried plants made by him from Sydney, Broken Bay, New Zealand, New Caledonia, etc., were on sale in London (Hooker's Journ. Bot., ix. 189, 1857).
He left a few scientific notes. They have been bound up in a pamphlet entitled, “Literary Notices of the late Frederick Strange, Naturalist," which has been lent to me by his son, Mr .F,. R. Strange of Mosman, Sydney. They are :-" Port Cooper ( New Zealand). A narrative of a trip sixty-four miles to the west of Port Cooper," by F. Strange, Naturalist. The trip lasted from Sunday, 4th March, 1849, to Saturday; 10 th March. His observations were geographical, and included references to natural history, and were published in the Supplement of "Sydney Morning Herald" .,26th January, 1850. “Family Columbidae or Pigeons," from " Notes on the the brush birds of Australia,":. by F. Strange, Naturalist.; ("Moreton Bay Courier~"~ 4th July, 1851). , ..” paradiseus or Rifle Bird,", from the same." Natural History, " Mr. F Strange. (“ London Morning Advertiser," 21th June 1852). This journal announced that Mr. Strange has just ar rived in England per the Vimeira in 94 days,w ith a most valuable collection of specimens of natural history:-
“They are the accumulation of the last three years' research; the tract of country explored has ranged in one direction from Mount War ning , on the south to Bribie's Island on the north of the colony likewise over a considerable portion of New Zealand, Mr Strange has been a resident in Sydney, South Australia. Moreton Bay, etc., for a number of years, but previous to the final adoption of his home in tho new world, he embarked in the third vessel which left the shores of England, in order to the formation (sic) of a new settlement in South Australia, where he remained tweve months prosecuting his labours in natural history botany and in acquiring information relating to the resources of the colony. At this time he became acquainted with Mr. J. Gou ld, the celebrated ornithologist, who was engaged in collecting m aterials for his admirable work on the ' Birds of Australia.’ In the latter end of this year, 1839, he was engaged upon an expedition with Captain Sturt and Commander Pullen (who is now, or was recently, engaged for the search for Sir John Franklin) to explore the country north of the north-east angle of The Murray, during which the entire party nearly perished, being compelled to bleed their horses to quench their thirst, on account of the entire want of water. A very advantageous location being offered him in New South Wales, he left South Australia in 1841, and examined all the country from Cape Howe to Wide Bay,about 900 miles off the coast, and upon his return he took a nine months’ cruise in her Majesty's Ship' Acheron,' during which he visited Wellington, Auckland and the Canterbury Settlement. It may be remarked that he was the first white man who made the attempt to cross the Middle Island to the western coast of New Zealand. In his collection he has brought with him the only living specimen in Europe of tbe Gigantic Water Lily (Nymphoea gigantea), so elegantly described in last May number!of Sir William Jackson Hooker's botanical ,work."
(See Bot. Mag. t. 4647. ." Several cultivators I, in England had seed early in:1852).
Similar information was contributed to the " Kilmarnock Journal” of 24th June, 1852, and the 'Norwich Mercury" of 26th June, 1852, and constitutes most of the information we possess concerning Mr. Strange. In the "Sydney,Morning Herald” of 21st November, 1854, is an account of the murder of Mr. Strange. Mr. Spurling (son of Captain Spurling) and two others by the natives of (the second). Percy Island, Queensland . See also the issue of 2nd.December. See also the “Empire" of 21st and 23rd! November, 1854, and the "Moreton Bay Free Press " of the same date, the last account being much the fullest., Mr. W. Hill, afterwards Colonial Botanist, Brisbane, was of the party which was conveyed to Percy Island in the Ketch “Vision," of which Mr. Strange was the owner. The massacre took place on the 15th October .
An interesting note entitled, "Frederick Strange, the Conchologist," by Mr. Charles Hedley, will \be found in t he Colonial Museum Bulletin, No.1, p. 50,' Wellington, N.Z., 1905 (1906).
The following plants commemorate him:
Eutaxia strangeana, Turcz ' = ? and
Grevillea strangea, Benth.
Source: Maiden, J.H. (1908) Records of Australian botanists- (a) General, (b) New South Wales. Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales for 1908. 42:60-132