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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation. In January 2018 I was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for 'service to conservation and the environment'.

Monday, 12 August 2013

On This Day, 12 August: deathday of Samuel Goodenough

The Reverend Samuel Goodenough, Bishop of Carlisle, died in on this day in 1827. English botanist John Smith, co-founder with Goodenough of the Linnean Society of London in 1788, named the large Australian genus Goodenia for him in 1793. As well as containing some 180 species, nearly all Australian, it is the type genus of a family which includes such well-known Australian genera as Lechenaultia, Dampiera and Scaevola.
Goodenia beardiana, Twin Creeks Reserve, Western Australia.

Goodenia ovata, Bundanoon, New South Wales.
It seems rather ironic that the Bishop, a highly regarded botanist at the time, should have honoured Linnaeus with the name of the still-eminent taxonomic society; he was profoundly appalled by Linnaeus' decision to use the sex organs of flowers as a basic part of his classification system. It wasn't because this system was so arbitrary - Linnaeus knew that, and saw it as merely an essential first 'pigeon-holing' step - but because it wasn't seemly to even acknowledge that flowers had such inelegant dangly bits!

"To tell you that nothing could equal the gross prurience of Linnaeus' mind is perfectly needless. A literal translation of the first principles of Linnaean botany is enough to shock female modesty. It is possible that many virtuous students might not be able to make out the similitude of Clitoria." wrote Goodenough to a fellow Linnean Society member in 1808. It seems that one thing that dismayed him was that ladies would no longer be able to dabble in botany as a genteel hobby.

Presumably ornithologists Nicholas Vigor (Irish) and Dr Thomas Horsfield (from the US) were able to overlook this eccentricity when they named the lovely Red-capped Robin for him "in honour of this most reverend and most erudite man".
Red-capped Robin Petroica goodenovii, Forbes, New South Wales.
Overall I reckon the bishop came out of it rather well, considering.

Today would also have been my dad's birthday; thinking of you Fred.



Flabmeister said...

I was looking at Milne Bay Ptovince of PNG and found that a District within that province was called "Goodenough Island". The sea between there and the main Island was called Goodenough Bay. As the name isn't common I wondered if there was a link.

Apparently "The island was visited in 1873 by Capt. John Moresby, who named it after Commodore James Graham Goodenough." vide http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/goodenough-james-graham-3630. With a tad more digging it turns out that James Graham is the grandson of Samuel!

I must get outdoors more!!


Ian Fraser said...

Many thanks for that. I came across the good Commodore in my reading for the post, but only as 'a relative', and didn't follow it up; glad that you did. I wonder if he was as squeamish as his grandfather?