Von Mueller was a botanist, trained in pharmacy and botany in his native Germany before emigrating to Adelaide in 1847. Appointed inaugural government botanist in Melbourne in 1853, over the next few years he collected specimens of much of Victoria’s native vegetation, spending many months in previously-unexplored alpine country. As botanist to the North Australian Exploring Expedition in 1855, he travelled 8 000 km in 16 months, identifying some 800 new species and finding them their place in the universal classification system developed by Linnaeus. In 1857 he was appointed director of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, but their progress was slow and he was replaced in 1873. By that time, he had been appointed a baron by the King of Württemberg; he was appointed KCMG in 1879. Seeing both the commercial potential of native forests, and the need to preserve them, in the late 1870s he prepared a report on the resources of Western Australia, advocating the establishment of a forest administration. He was a fellow of the Royal Geographical, Linnaean and Royal Societies and was awarded a Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1888.
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