Born at Ballinderry Bridge, Moneymore, County Derry, Ireland, 30 October, 1829, and died at Skipton, Victoria, 2 April, 1901; buried at Skipton.
He was a Presbyterian minister, licensed by the Presbytery of Tyrone in 1860, and arrived in Victoria and was inducted into the charge at Skipton the same year. He remained there till 1884, when he resigned, and became minister at Port Fairy in September, 1885, where he resided up till three weeks before his death.
He was M.A. of Queen's College, Belfast, Ireland, and F. R. M. S. He won the University Gold Medal in Natural History, and a Senior Scholarship in the same subject. He was an old member of the Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria, and contributed to the earlier numbers of the Victorian Naturalist, but no botanical papers. He is referred to in the "Flora Australiensis" as having contributed plants to that work, and he collected for MuelIer for many years.
After he went to reside at Port Fairy he took a great interest in both conchology and algae, and formed considerable collections. It was at Skipton and in the Mt. William districts that he mainly made collections of Phanerogams. Besides contributing largely to the Melbourne Herbarium, he sent many specimens to the botanical professor (Dr. Dickie) at Queen's College, Belfast.
He is commemorated by Acacia whanii, F. v. M. = A. lanigera, A.Cunn. var. Whanii
Source: Maiden, J.H. (1908). Records of Victorian Botanists. Victorian Naturalist 25:101-117