Series List and Summary Descriptions

Series 1 Committee Papers

Correspondence; agenda, meeting minutes; abstracts and reprints of scientific papers; plant samples and plant specimens (often listed in formats as Artefacts-General); plant lists and descriptions; memoranda; forms; reports; newsletters; handwritten notes; accounts, journals of committees, sub-committees, clubs and societies of which Willis was a member.
These include the National Trust of Australia (Victoria); Ornamental Plants Committee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne; Plant Survey Council of Victoria; Subcommittees of FCNV (Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria); Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens; Australian Cultivar Registration Authority; Australian Conservation Foundation; Weed Science Society of Victoria; Australian Systematic Botany Society, Flora of Australia Committee (Australian Academy of Science).

Date Range: 1906 - 1988   Quantity: 37.5 cm, 12 files, boxes
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 2 Correspondence to Individuals

Correspondence with individuals, hand written and photocopied notes, plant lists and descriptions, catalogue cards, maps, plant specimens; botanical drawings and prints, trips, talks, queries, forms, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, tourists slides, reprints of scientific papers, postcards, photographs, greeting cards, postcards, reports, minutes, illustrations, diagrams, journal reprints, regarding the classification of plants; historical and reference material, field notes, administrative documents.

Date Range: 20 November 1865 - 4 May 1995   Quantity: 120 cm, 80 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 3 Willis Correspondence
Chronologically Filed General Correspondence

'General correspondence files' sorted by Willis and filed in shallow boxes.
Correspondence (and lists; forms; plant samples; invitations; forms; postcards; pamphlets, photographs), with various individuals and concerning a variety of matters, including a large number of botanical queries, references, research, specimens, identifications, talks and addresses, publications, subscriptions, acknowledgements, invitations, friends.

Date Range: 1942 - 1987   Quantity: 98 cm, 20 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 4 Biographical Information on Australian Botanists

Material collected for the Biographical Index of Australian Botanists compiled by J.H. Willis, Daphne Pearson and Mervyn Davis, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, obituaries, handwritten list by Willis entitled 'Botanical Collectors in Australia (represented by specimens at Melbourne Herbarium)'; envelopes containing notes and extracts concerning various Australian botanists; file concerning botanical painter Margaret Stones (including correspondence from Stones); a file containing materials concerning the Australian Biological Resources Study.

Date Range: 1853 - 1993   Quantity: 35 cm, 15 files, box
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 5 Notes for Talks Presented by Willis

Over 50 talks and lectures delivered by Willis and related documents. Files, envelopes and bundles containing notes; talks (notes and transcripts); lists; maps; journals; reports; correspondence; teaching notes and course outlines; journals; newsletters; lecture notes by Willis.

Date Range: 31 August 1934 - 7 October 1995   Quantity: 14 cm, 14 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 6 Conferences, Seminars and Symposiums

Talks and papers regarding various scientific conferences attended by Willis.
Correspondence; lecture notes and transcripts; conference application forms; receipts; conference programmes and proceedings; abstracts of papers; maps; newsletters; conference memorabilia and promotional material, notes and transcripts of addresses and lectures by Willis regarding various conferences, including Third IOP (International Organisation of Paleobotany) Conference, Melbourne, 1988; Australian Garden History Society 1990 Conference, Albury; XIII International Botanical Congress, Sydney, 1981; Arid Zone Research Conference, 1965, at Alice Springs, Northern Territory; Forum on Roadsides Conservation, November, 1974; First Fenner Conference, Canberra, 13-15 September, 1988.

Date Range: 1965 - 1990   Quantity: 16 cm, 10 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 7 Notes and Manuscripts for Publications

Files concerning various publications with which Willis had some involvement (mostly books or sections of books, but also journals, articles and newsletters). Drafts and proof manuscripts by Willis including Handbook to Plants in Victoria, Volumes 1 and 2, Victorian Toadstools and Mushrooms, plant identification keys (keys to Victorian flora); and manuscripts by other authors sent to Willis for editing, e.g. W.H. Nicholls Orchids of Australia. Lists; loose notes; drawings; newspaper clippings; notebooks; correspondence; journals; handwritten and gallery proofs; photographs; book reviews; programmes & schedules; book reviews.

Date Range: 1911 - 14 April 1994   Quantity: 73 cm, 37 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 8 Journals
Notes for Papers

Journals; correspondence; reports; manuscripts; notes; lists regarding Willis's involvement with, and contribution to, various journals and other publications; including the Australian Journal of Science Editorial Advisory Panel; Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria, and Landscape Australia.

Date Range: 1952 - 1994   Quantity: 3.5 cm, 4 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 9 Reprints of Papers by James Hamlyn Willis

Over one hundred works written by Willis, including reprints of essays, articles and talks, collaborative papers, and issues of journals and newsletters in which papers and articles by Willis were published. Also includes reports, lists, lectures, essays and drafts.

Date Range: 1934 - April 1993   Quantity: 77 cm, 45 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 10 Newspaper Cuttings

Newspaper clippings; correspondence; photographs; loose notes; poems; papers; journals; transparencies collected by Willis. The clippings were taken from a variety of publications and concern various individuals and topics, such as Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne, Baron von Mueller, Kew Botanical Gardens, botany, eucalyptus and tall trees.

Date Range: 13 March 1900 - 11 June 1994   Quantity: 30 cm, 14 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 11 Collecting Trips and Excursions

Plant lists; draft manuscripts; maps; newspaper clippings; loose notes; promotional material; submissions; correspondence; photographs; reprints of papers; notebooks; newsletters; annotated field lists; and journals, regarding various Australian 'botanical safaris', 'historical' expeditions or collecting trips. Trips include those attended by Willis, or to which he had some form of involvement or interest.

Date Range: 14 January 1909 - 1995   Quantity: 43 cm, 27 files, booklets
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 12 Reserves Files

Correspondence; minutes of meetings; submissions; Willis's own handwritten plant lists for flora found in various reserves and National Parks; notes; newspaper clippings; reports; photographs; promotional material; talks; draft manuscripts regarding various nature reserves and National Parks in Australia (mostly Victoria).

Date Range: 20 December 1899 - 23 October 1993   Quantity: 30 cm, 13 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 13 Field Notes, Notebooks and Nature Diaries
Willis's Diaries and Notebooks

Notebooks used by Willis to record observations, descriptive notes and other scientific data regarding various plant species and geological formations. Some of the notebooks record information gathered during various field trips and excursions, others are practical and laboratory notebooks, and course notes kept during Willis's student days at the University of Melbourne and Victorian School of Forestry (Creswick).

Date Range: 13 September 1924 - 2 June 1976   Quantity: 21.5 cm, 22 files, notebooks
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 14 Travel

Correspondence, illustrations, notes, lists, maps, itineraries, travel brochures, newspaper clippings, information sheets and reports; minutes; newsletters; reprints regarding various trips made by Willis to Norfolk Island; New Zealand; New South Wales to Queensland (including Lamington National Park, Queensland); Western Australian trip with A.C. Beauglehole; New Guinea; and Bass Strait.

Date Range: 10 May 1947 - 16 April 1993   Quantity: 8 cm, 8 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 15 A. J. Tadgell

Records created by Tadgell and passed on to Willis. Reprints, Journals (predominantly The Victorian Naturalist), correspondence, typed and handwritten loose notes, plant lists, topical notes and material on orchids, drawings, newspaper clippings, photographs, including a photo of Tadgell collecting specimens.

Date Range: May 1892 - 1 June 1966   Quantity: 17 cm, 1 file
Provenance: Alfred James Tadgell


Series 16 Publications By Other Authors

Various publications (and related documents) by authors other than Willis. The publications generally consist of reprints of scientific papers, but also include books, reports, brochures, maps, correspondence, newspaper clippings, botanical drawings, newsletters, photographs, promotional material and information booklets. Many of the publications were sent to Willis with compliments of the author or were donated from various sources.

Date Range: 1856 - 1995   Quantity: 419 cm, 165 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 17 Photographs

A collection of miscellaneous photographs taken by various individuals, including Willis, Glass slides (photographic) of flowers of Australia, South East Australia, North and South America, South Africa, Mediterranean, and Western Europe (taken by Edward Edgar Pescott); photographs and glass slides of the Barry Mountains (including mounted photographs by William H. Ferguson taken in 1895); historical photographs of the Field Naturalists' Club, and various expeditions; glass slides of orchids; "fungus photographs"; photographs of various plants and regions throughout Victoria and Australia.

Date Range: 1895 - 1994   Quantity: 93 cm, 78 files, bags
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 18 Flora and Plant Lists, Locality Lists

Handwritten lists of flora and plants by Willis and others in various regions predominantly throughout Victoria, but also in Australia; correspondence, flora listings, plant listings, locality listings, maps, and general publications (e.g. brochures, information booklets, reprints) concerning different regions or areas of Australia (mostly Victoria), i.e. Beechworth; French Island; King Island; Westernport floras; Kinglake; Greater Melbourne; Nathalia; Lower Glenelg; Werribee Gorge; Bogong High Plains; Mallee; Hanging Rock; Bacchus Marsh; Anglesea; basalt areas; alpine floras; Mornington Peninsula and Arthur's Seat.

Date Range: 1887 - 1995   Quantity: 79 cm, 42 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 19 A. C. Beauglehole Correspondence and Plant Survey Data

Reports, plant survey data, submissions and of miscellaneous correspondence all relating to the activities of A.C. Beauglehole. The bulk of the material consists of photocopies of records created by Beauglehole and sent to Willis for information and reference purposes.

Date Range: 1972 - 1983   Quantity: 34 cm, 11 files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 20 Cassette Recordings of Talks and Lectures by Willis

Cassette tape recordings of various talks and lectures delivered by Willis from 1974 onwards. Includes a handwritten list of talks given by Willis. Most of the talks were taped by David Dunn.

Date Range: 1974 - 1990   Quantity: 60 cm, 41 cassette tapes
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 21 Natural History Specimens

Various plant and animal specimens collected by, or donated to Willis.
Emu eggs and droppings; seed pods; plant and insect samples; skull; bark with insect scribbles; snake skin (Brown snake); hardcover book containing pressed specimens of New Zealand ferns; sample of Kauri pine timber (Agathis species) from sub-fossilised log (1 million years old, Pliocene Age); cross section of fossilized Phyllocladus aspleniifolius (celery-top pine) found in Oligocene deposits at Bacchus Marsh brown coal mine (APM Maddingley Open Cut).

Date Range: 1961 - 1988   Quantity: 100 cm, 38 bags
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 22 William Henry Nicholls

William (Bill) Nicholls's notebooks and bound volumes of reprints and journals. The pages of the notebooks are interspersed with loose notes, photographs, correspondence, pressed plant specimens and botanical illustrations (sketches and water colours). The records were donated to Willis by Bill Nicholls or by Nicholls' family.

Date Range: 1881 - 1959   Quantity: 86 cm, 23 files
Provenance: William Henry Nicholls


Series 23 Numbered Slide Collection

Photographic slides, and accompanying notebooks, taken by Willis between the years 1958 and 1995. Numbered boxes of slides (slide box numbers 31 to 842), and some unnumbered, boxes of slides. Included is an explanatory note, by Willis's daughter (Ruth Churchyard) concerning the slide collection.

Date Range: 1958 - 1995   Quantity: 260 cm, 780 files, transparency box of slides
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 24 Keys to Numbered Slide Collection

Willis's handwritten keys (notebooks) to his numbered collection of photographic slides.
Fourteen keys or indexes (notebooks) to Willis's slide collection; travel diary containing notes (some corresponding to early slides held in un-numbered boxes) on slides taken in England.

Date Range: 1958 - 1995   Quantity: 16 cm, 15 notebooks, bags
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 25 Lecture and Talk Slides

Slides extracted from Willis's numbered slide collection and kept together for lecture purposes. Includes loose lecture notes and slides donated by photographers. Many of the slides included in this series contain brief notes and lists in Willis's handwriting. Topics include flora, fungi, orchids, trees, weeds, lichen, algae, conifers, ferns, rare plants, seed and spore dispersal, trips, expeditions and tours, plants associated with various Australian geographical locations, wildlife, aboriginal art, historic buildings and trees, Australian botanists and discoverers of plants, Von Mueller, seeds and bulbs, the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Date Range: 1958 - 1995   Quantity: 170 cm, 107 slide boxes, files, transparency boxes
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 26 Maps, Plans and Posters

Hand drawn maps, plans, vegetation maps, general, forestry and geological survey maps of different districts and areas of Victoria and other States, underground works plans of various Victorian parishes, drawings, arial maps and photographs, posters, photocopies of newsclippings collected by Willis. Some items include annotations made by Willis.

Date Range: 4 April 1855 - 1995?   Quantity: 105 cm, 88 maps and posters
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 27 Glass Slides

Black and white and coloured glass slides, and some negatives, of scenery, flowers and plants, and various friends and collegues. Topics include the Barry Mountains; Mt. St. Bernard; scenery; Professor Tom Cherry; Mt. Cobbler Peak; orchids; acacia; flowers of Australia, South East Asia, North and South America, South Africa, Mediterranean and Western Europe.

Date Range: 1890? - 1945?   Quantity: 21 cm, 6 files and bags
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 28 Botanical Artworks, Prints and Reproductions

Various prints of botanical drawings, paintings and lithograms.
Drawings by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller (possibly donated by Miss Moira Pye, Croydon); miscellaneous colour reproductions of floral paintings; prints of bird paintings (sent with compliments of Bruce D. Tracey, Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Ltd.); reprints of wildflower paintings by Ellis Rowan (held at the Australian National Library, Canberra); a page of original plant drawings by W.H. Nicholls from 1928; illustration of 'Proteaceae: Hakea' by Charles Dicker.

Date Range: 1867 - 1990?   Quantity: 70 cm, 44 prints and files
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Series 29 Memorabilia, Awards, Autobiographical Material and Posthumous Papers

Certificates and awards including the Order of Australia Award and Willis's doctorate , Willis's last diaries, memorabilia, newsclippings collected by Willis, photographs, thankyou letters, correspondence and obituaries and other material regarding memorials and commemorative services held after Willis died, some of which are inscribed with hand written annotations and small descriptions. The 'Autobiographical Writings of J.H. Willis (1991)' includes photographs and handwritten manuscripts of significance, and two series of letters written by Jim Willis to his family while at Kew as Australian Botanical Liaison Officer.

Date Range: 1938? - 1996   Quantity: 45.5 cm, 8 boxes, documents, files, journal
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis
Access: Closed


Series 30 Miscellaneous Correspondence and Subject Files
Classification of Plants and Historical Notes.

Unsorted and untitled correspondence, ephemera and papers regarding the description classification of plants, history and biographical files, and general admimistration at the National Herbarium, Melbourne. Hand written and photocopied notes, plant lists and descriptions, catalogue cards; geographical, geological and vegetation maps; plant specimens; botanical drawings and prints, trips, talks, queries, forms, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, tourists slides. reprints of scientific papers, postcards, photographs, greeting cards, reports, minutes, illustrations, diagrams, journal reprints, regarding the classification of plants; historical and reference material, field notes.

Date Range: 1804 - 1993   Quantity: 110 cm, 71 files, boxes, maps
Provenance: James Hamlyn Willis


Published by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre on AustehcWeb, November 2000
With support from Friends of the Botanic Gardens, Norman Wettenhall Foundation, William Buckland Foundation and The Maud Gibson Trust
Listed by Rachel Tropea with Andrea Barnes and Fay Anderson
HTML edition
Updated 15 November 2007

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