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Biographical entry Swinbourne, Robert Frederick George (1936 - 2015)

31 July 1936
Hurstville, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Horticultural botanist


Robert Swinbourne was a horticultural botanist whose interests included the family Geraniaceae and the history of horticulture in South Australia. He described and registered many Pelargonium hybrids. In the early 1960s he was on the staff of the herbarium in Alice Springs. Specimens collected during this time are now in the Northern Territory Herbarium. Between 1966 and the mid-1980s he worked at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Swinbourne served as President of the Australian Geranium Council and was a leading member of other plant societies reflecting his interests in carnivorous plants, begonias and ferns. Under the pseudonym 'Ptilotus" he made regular contributions to the magazine Your Garden. His history of the nursery trade in South Australia, Years of endeavour, was published in 1982.



1962 - 2015
Career position - Member, Royal Society of South Australia
1962 - 2015
Career position - Fellow, Linnean Society of New South Wales
1966 - 1980
Career position - Botanist, Adelaide Botanic Gardens
1970 - 2015
Career position - Fellow, Linnean Society of London

Published resources


  • Swinbourne, Robert F. G., Years of Endeavour: An historical record of the Nurseries, Nurserymen, Seedsmen, and Horticultural retail outlets of South Australia, South Australian Association of Nurserymen, Adelaide, 1982, 200 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Barker, Robyn, 'R. F. G. Swinbourne (1936 - 2015)', Australasian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter, vol. 166, 2016, pp. 34-6. Details

Helen Cohn