Collecting localities



Biographical data


Lawes, William George


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)


Born: 1839, Aldermaston, Berks, England. Died: 1907, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia.



Missionary, educated at Bedford, was ordained in 1860 and appointed to Samoa as agent of the London Missionary Society, and stationed on Niué (Savage Isl.), 1861-74; appointed to the New Guinea Mission, arriving Nov. 21, 1874, settling on the shore between the villages Hanuabada and Elewara.1 He made several journeys of exploration, partly from Somerset. In Dec. 1894 he left Port Moresby and settled at Vatorata near Kapa Kapa; in 1906 he retired from active service, moving to Sydney in April. In 1895 the degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by the University of Glasgow.

Author of a grammar of the Motu language, etc.

He is commemorated in some plant names.


Collecting localities:

SE. New Guinea, Dec. 1874-Dec. 1877. Principally at Port Moresby and Hood Bay, making journeys into the Koiari Distr. and along the coast to the east:-1875. With MacFarlane (see there) tour by boat in eastern direction to Hood Bay (July). With Oct.C. Stone to the Laloki River (Nov.);2 in the same month a journey in eastern direction with Stone. 2nd Trip to the Laloki River (Dec. 7); back at Port Moresby (16). -1876. With MacFarlane (itiner., liter., etc. see there) by boat (‘Ellengowan’) along the SE. coast (March.-Apr.). Sailing from Somerset in the schooner ‘Mayri’ (Dec. 27) for a tour to New Guinea, Port Moresby.-1877. From Port Moresby (Jan. 6) in eastern direction; Hood Bay, discover-ng the Kemp Welch River; returning to Somerset via Port Moresby, Bura, Darnley Isl. and Murray Isl., returning to Somerset early in Febr.--From April 14, 1878-Sept. 30, 1880, visit to England.-1881. With J. Chalmers via Hall Sound to Delena (= ? Elema of Chalmers) headquarters (Oct.), exploring Maiva and Kevori Districts.3-1882. In the 2nd quarter of the year from Maiva to Oiapu Distr. (NW of Possession Cape), passing the Ridgley Range. Towards the end of the year with Chalmers to Sogeri Distr. via the Laloki (Rauna Fall).4-1884. cf. sub Chalmers.-In 1893 still collecting.



Herb. Melbourne [MEL].5 In Herb. Berl. [B]: New Guinea mosses (a. 1881).



(1) W.G. Lawes: ‘Notes on New Guinea and its inhabitants’ (Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc. Lond. N.S. 2, 1880, p. 602-616, incl. descript. of the vegetation; cf. also l.c. p. 216); ‘Ten years at Port Moresby’ (Chron. Lond. Miss. Soc. 1885, p. 85-92).

cf. also in Peterm. Mitt. 25, 1879, p. 280.

(2) cf. Stone in Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc. Lond. 20, 1875, p. 266-272.

(3) cf. Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc. Load. N.S. 4, 1882, p. 160.

(4) W.G. Lawes: ‘An excursion in the interior of New Guinea’ (l.c. 5, 1883, p. 355-358).

(5) Some plants described in F. von Mueller, Descr. Not. Pap. Pl., l, pt 6, 1885 (from Port Moresby, Jervis Isl. and Astrolabe Range); in Vict. Naturalist, Dec. 1884 and in l.c. 1, 1885, p. 168; and in Wing’s Southern Sci. Record 2, 1882, p. 229.

Some mosses by Geheeb in Bibl. Bot. Heft 13, 1889.


biographical data:

V.A. Barradale: ‘The story of William George Lawes’ (London, Lond. Miss. Soc., no date); J. King: W.G. Lawes of Savage Island and New Guinea’ (London, Relig. Tract Soc., 1909); ‘A Register of Missionaries, Deputations, etc.’ (London, Lond. Miss. Soc., 1923) p. 75-76; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936.