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Alex George AM

Alex George was born in East Fremantle, Western Australia, in 1939 and was educated at Applecross State School, Wesley College and The University of Western Australia, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1963.  To this he added a major in Botany in 1964.  In 1959 he joined the Western Australian Herbarium as a technician, later taxonomist, and worked there until 1981.  He then spent twelve years in Canberra as foundation Executive Editor of the Flora of Australia project with the Australian Biological Resources Study.  In 1993 he returned to Perth to set up his own consultancy as a botanist, editor and indexer, but is now semi-retired. He established Four Gables Press in 2002.


Field work has taken Alex throughout Australia.  His plant collections total more than 18,000 and include many new discoveries.  His major interests in classification have been Western Australian orchids, Banksia, Dryandra and Synaphea (family Proteaceae), Verticordia and Calothamnus (family Myrtaceae), and the endemic Australian family Gyrostemonaceae.  He has named more than 300 new species and several new genera.  He also has a strong interest in botanical history.  He has published some 200 botanical papers and (as sole or joint author) 14 books.  Besides 14 volumes of the Flora of Australia and 14 volumes of the Supplementary Series to the Flora he has edited 50 books and indexed 27.


In the 1970s he was a member of the Conservation Through Reserves Committee that reviewed conservation reserves throughout Western Australia.


Alex has had a long association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  He is the only botanist to have served two terms there as Australian Botanical Liaison Officer, the first in 1968, the second in 2004–05.  He was President of The Kew Guild in 2010–11.


Alex’s other interests include cultivation of wildflowers, conservation, photography, music, travel, reading and aviation (he held a private pilot’s licence for 20 years).  In 2000–01 he was President of the Royal Society of Western Australia.  In 2004 he was awarded the Nancy Burbidge Medal of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society, and in 2009 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by Murdoch University.  In 2012 he became a Member of the Order of Australia.  In 2015 he was awarded the Wildflower Society Award of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia.