Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born 14 August 1932 in central Java, now Indonesia;
The Second World War and Japanese occupation of Indonesia meant a hiatus in formal school training, but gave all the more time to explore the wonders of Javanese nature. High school (HBS-B) in Bandung was successfully completed in 1952, followed by a BSc in 1957 at the University of Indonesia also in Bandung.
In 1958 he traveled to Leiden for his MSc study, for which he explored phytogeographical as well as zoological, ecological and ethological themes. Upon obtaining his degree in 1961 he joined the Rijksherbarium staff, initially unsalaried, later supported by a prestigious national research council grant. In 1964 he obtained a tenured research post at the Rijksherbarium, then an integral part of Leiden University.
He took a gently induced early retirement in 1994 (senior scientists in university service were thus encouraged to help budget savings in the nineties in The Netherlands). This opened the way to more freedom to devote time to his great passion: tropical plants.
In the first decade of his retirement Max made his collective expert information accessible for a wider audience in his trilogy on Malesian Seed Plants (1997, 1998 and 2001), including a volume illustrating and defining diagnostic spot-characters of families and a large number of species-rich genera, and two volumes on the individual families of trees, shrubs, climbers and herbs in the Flora Malesiana area.
In July 1965 he collected in Australia, including Lord Howe Island and areas of NSW. He returned to Australia in July-August 1971 with collections in NT, QLD and NSW.
The bulk of his collections would be held in institutions outside of Australia. Throughout his career, plant collecting in the Malesian and Pacific region was a main preoccupation. Max made substantial collections in the following localities: Mt Wilhelm in Papua New Guinea (1965); Australia: Lord Howe Island, Northern Territory, and Queensland (1965, 1971); Tahiti and Bora Bora (1971); Malaya (1974, 1975, 1996); Sulawesi (1979); Hawaii (1982, 1992).
Source: Extracted from: Max van Balgooy 80th Birthday tribute by Baas, Roos and Welzen, https//www.repository.naturalis.nl/document/564867
Portrait Photo: by B.N.Kieft, extracted from: https//www.repository.naturalis.nl/document/564867
Data from 1,139 specimens in Australian herbaria