[Editor: This obituary, regarding Frederick Manson Bailey (botanist), was published in Nature (London, England), 2 September 1915.]
Frederick Manson Bailey, C.M.G.
The death of Frederick Manson Bailey, C.M.G., the veteran Colonial Botanist of Queensland, which was announced in the last issue of Nature, will be felt as a great loss to Australian botany. He inherited his botanical tastes from his father, John Bailey, who emigrated to South Australia in 1838, the family having conducted the business of nurserymen and seedsmen in London for many years. F. M. Bailey helped his father for a time in the nursery business at Adelaide, which he established on resigning the position of Government botanist — to which post he was appointed on his arrival in South Australia — but he did not seriously take up horticulture again until he landed at Brisbane in 1861 after a spell of gold-digging in Victoria and farming in New Zealand. He then established a seed business in Brisbane, a venture, however, attended with no great measure of success owing to financial conditions in Queensland, but his real opportunity came in 1875, when the Queensland Government appointed a committee to inquire into diseases affecting live stock and plants, and he was chosen to investigate the botanical problems involved. In connection with the duties of this appointment he travelled far and wide throughout the State, and gained that extensive knowledge of the flora of Queensland which enabled him to make his numerous and valuable contributions to Queensland botany.
His earlier work was mainly connected with the native grasses of Queensland, which formed the subject of many articles valuable to the botanist and agriculturist alike. He was next appointed to the charge of the botanical section of the Queensland Museum, and in 1881 was made Colonial Botanist, the post which he held until his death. The duties of this post, which were very congenial to him, he discharged with conspicuous ability and untiring devotion, and, during the times of depression when the post was abolished, he continued his work unpaid until, as a result of general protest, he was reinstated in his former position.
The distinction of C.M.G. conferred upon him in 1911 was a fitting recognition of the value of his botanical and agricultural services to Queensland. His contributions to botany embrace the purely systematic as well as the economic aspects of the subject. Another subject to which he paid particular attention was the medicinal uses of plants.
Among his more important publications must be mentioned “The Flora of Queensland” in seven volumes; “The Handbook of the Ferns of Queensland”; a sketch of the “Economic Plants of Queensland”; “Plants reputed Poisonous and Injurious to Stock”; “Queensland Woods”; “Queensland Grasses,” etc.
Bailey also devoted much time and attention, especially in later years, to the study of fungi and algæ, and until a few days before his death he was a regular contributor of critical specimens to the National Herbarium at Kew, which has been greatly enriched, as regards the Queensland flora, by the specimens he so generously presented.
Nature (London, England), 2 September 1915, pp. 10-11
C.M.G. = Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, a British order of chivalry
depression = economic depression
See: “Economic depression”, Wikipedia
etc. = an abbreviation of “et cetera” (also spelt “etcetera”), a Latin term (“et” meaning “and”, “cetera” meaning “the rest”) which is translated as “and the rest (of such things)”, used in English to mean “and other similar things”, “other unspecified things of the same class”, “and so forth”
spell = an unspecified period of time, especially a relatively short period of time; can also refer to: a rest, or a period of rest (“spell” is used to refer to a period of rest, due to the common phrase “to rest for a spell” and variations thereof)