James Hamlyn Willis

James Hamlyn "Jim" Willis (28 January 1910 – 10 November 1995) was an Australian botanist.[1] He described 64 new species of plants, and published more than 880 works including the landmark two-volume A Handbook to plants in Victoria between 1962 and 1973.[2]

James Hamlyn Willis
Born(1910-01-28)January 28, 1910
DiedNovember 10, 1995(1995-11-10) (aged 85)
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
Scientific career
InstitutionsNational Herbarium of Victoria
Author abbrev. (botany)J.H.Willis


Willis was born in Oakleigh, Victoria in 1910.[1] In 1913 he moved with his family to Stanley on the northern coast of Tasmania, Australia, where they remained until returning to Victoria in 1924. He attended Melbourne High School and in 1928, following receipt of a scholarship, began studies at the Victorian School of Forestry in Creswick, graduating with a Diploma of Forestry in 1930. For the next seven years he was employed by the Forests Commission of Victoria as a forest officer.[2]

In 1937 Willis joined the National Herbarium of Victoria and commenced studies at the University of Melbourne, graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 1940.[2] Between 1958 and 1959, he held the position of Australian Botanical Liaison Officer at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and in 1961 he was appointed as Assistant Government Botanist for Victoria.[2] Between 1970 and 1972, he was the Acting Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.[2]


In addition you having named new species himself, a species of eucalypt is named after him; Eucalyptus willisii.

Following Willis' death in 1995, from 1996 onwards, the National Herbarium of Victoria has hosted the Jim Willis Studentship in his honour. This is a competitive eight week programme held during the summer where students gain research experience working on a specific research project under the supervision of a herbarium research staff member.[3]

In 2000, the Gladstone Bag belonging to Willis used to collect specimens on his many field expeditions was uncovered in extraordinary circumstances. It is now part of the Victorian School of Forestry museum collection at Creswick[4]


  1. "Willis, James Hamlyn (1910 - 1995)". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  2. "Provenance 1 - James Hamlyn Willis". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  3. "Summer science at the Gardens – Jim Willis Studentships". Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  4. "Jim Willis's Gladstone bag" (PDF).
  5. IPNI.  J.H.Willis.
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