Thomas Edgar Burns

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Thomas Edgar Burns

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Thomas Edgar Burns, born on 16 September 1904 at Launceston, was educated at the Invermay Primary School and Launceston High School. After receiving the Tasmanian Teachers Certificate from the Phillip Smith College, he taught at a number of schools in northern Tasmania before teaching at Invermay Primary, Glen Dhu Primary and Launceston Technical High School. When the Launceston Teachers College opened, he transferred there and lectured in biology until his retirement in 1969. Later he taught botany part-time at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education. On several occasions he conducted courses on botany and plant identification for the Adult Education Board. After he was appointed Honorary Associate in Botany at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in 1960 he acted as curator, reorganising the collection and adding many specimens. The same year he was appointed Honorary Research Associate in Botany by the University of Tasmania. A keen collector of Tasmanian native plants, he sent many specimens to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in England and collected for Lord Talbot de Malahide. Mr Burns joined the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1951 and was elected to the Northern Branch Council in 1959. He served the Northern Branch as Vice-Chairman, Chairman and in 1978 he was elected an Honorary Life Member. He was also a life member of the Launceston Field Naturalists and editor of their newsletter for some years. With H J King he was the author of Wildflowers of Tasmania, first published in 1969. This handy pocket-size guide book ran into a number of editions. Mr Burns and J R Skemp were co-authors of Van Diemen’s Land correspondents (1961) and he edited J R Skemp’s My birds (1971). A grand master of the Masonic Lodge, he compiled a history of St Andrew’s Lodge. Also involved with the Boy Scout movement, he was awarded an OAM for service to the community in 1983. T E Burns died on 11 June 1983 at Launceston, aged 78.


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