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Awarded for service to Science
Entered on roll: 2006
Mary Cameron was born in Launceston, and educated at East Launceston Primary School and Methodist Ladies’ College. She gained her Bachelor of Science with a major in botany from the University of Tasmania in 1947, and became a lifelong friend of botanist Dr Winifred Curtis. Mary was a demonstrator in botany at the University in 1947 and 1948. She later obtained a Secondary Teachers Certificate and became an Associate of the Library Association of Australia.
Mary married in 1949 in Launceston and worked as a secondary school science teacher and a reference librarian while raising a family of six children.
After commencing work at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery as Honorary Museum Botanist in 1972, she was appointed Honorary Research Associate in Botany in 1986 in recognition of her substantial contribution to the Museum. This is the highest level of recognition given by the Museum to those who have made a substantial contribution to its activities. In her 30 years at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Mary maintained and curated the Museum’s significant herbarium collection.
Mary was a Life Member of the Launceston Field Naturalists Club and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust, Chairman of the Royal Society of Tasmania (northern branch), and a member of the Australian Heritage Commission Tasmania elevation panel and the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service Flora Advisory Committee.
Mary wrote and edited many publications including editing the Launceston Field Naturalists Club’s most successful field manual, A Guide to Flower and Plants of Tasmania, first published in 1981. This is now in its eighth printing and third edition. She was also the co-author of a number of articles on Tasmanian flora. She supervised and participated in a number of museum research projects, which included natural history surveys and vegetation reports.
In 1993, Mary was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for services to botanical and environmental conservation. In 1999, she received the Australian Natural History Medallion for her contribution to furthering knowledge and understanding of Australian flora.
Mary continued working in a voluntary capacity maintaining and curating the Museum’s herbarium until shortly before she passed away in 2001.