RODWAY, Leonard (1853-1936)


RODWAY, Leonard (1853-1936)
botanist
son of Henry Barrow Rodway, was born at Torquay, Devonshire, England, on 5 October 1853. Educated at Birmingham, he served on the officers' training ship, Worcester, and obtained double first-class certificates. He served for three years as a midshipman in the merchant service, but decided to give up the sea. He obtained the licentiateship of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and then went to Queensland for a short period. He arrived in Tasmania in 1880 and practised with success as a dental surgeon at Hobart. In 1896 he was appointed honorary government botanist for Tasmania, and held this position for 36 years. His work in this connexion was largely done at week-ends and during his holidays. In 1903 he published his comprehensive work, The Tasmanian Flora, illustrated with his own drawings of typical species. This was followed in 1910 by Some Wild Flowers of Tasmania, a useful and interesting book for students. He had become a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1884, was elected to the council in 1911, and was for some years a vice-president of the society. He was chairman of the Field Naturalists' Club, the national park board, and was on the fisheries and the technical schools and other boards. He acted as an advisory officer to the forestry department and was for some years lecturer in botany at the university of Tasmania. He also did valuable work for the museum and botanical gardens. Failing health caused his retirement in 1932. In addition to the two works mentioned Rodway compiled a complete description of the mosses and hepatics of Tasmania, and contributed numerous papers to the Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania. He died on 9 March 1936. He married (1) Louisa Phillips and (2) Olive Barnard, who survived him with four sons and a daughter of the first marriage. He was awarded the Clarke memorial medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales and the medal of the Royal Society of Tasmania, and was made C.M.G. in 1917. His botanical library was presented to the Royal Society of Tasmania by Mrs Rodway. His daughter, Florence Rodway, born at Hobart, became a successful and capable portrait painter. She is represented in the national galleries at Sydney and Hobart, and in the Commonwealth collection at Canberra.
Papers and Proceedings Royal Society of Tasmania, 1936; The Mercury, Hobart, 10 March 1936; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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