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Biographical entry Guilfoyle, William Robert (1840 - 1912)

8 December 1840
Chelsea, England
25 June 1912
East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Horticulturist and Landscape gardener


William Guilfoyle was curator of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne from 1873 to 1909. During his time as curator, he oversaw the expansion of the garden's parameters and the conversion of swamps to lakes. He was a successor to Ferdinand von Mueller in this role. Before taking up this position he designed numerous public, domestic and homestead gardens mainly in Victoria, and also accompanied Commodore Lambert to the South Sea Islands (1868). He also authored several text books on botany.



Career position - Botanical Collector for Commodore Lambert to the South Sea Islands H.M.S. Challenger
1873 - 1909
Career position - Director of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus guilfoylei Maiden was named in his honour

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Australian Botanists - Biographies, MS 064; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • William Robert Guilfoyle - Records, 1871 - 1909; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Fox, Paul, Clearings: Six Colonial Gardeners and Their Landscapes (Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 2004), 269 pp. Details
  • Pescott, R. T. M., W. R. Guilfoyle 1840-1912: the master of landscaping (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1974), 153 pp. Details
  • Pescott, Richard Thomas Martin, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne: a history from 1845 to 1970 (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1982), 212 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Aitken, Richard, 'Picturesque but instructive: William Guilfoyle's first decade at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens', Australian garden history, 7 (4) (1996), 6-18. Details
  • Andrews, Lee, '"Get Guilfoyle": a re-discovered landscape by one of Australia's great landscape designers', Australian Garden History, 24 (1) (2012), 13-7. Details
  • Gilfedder, Francine, 'Guilfoyle plan rediscovered: Hamilton Botanic Gardens in 1881', Australian Garden History, 3 (2) (1991), 10-11. Details
  • Hawker, John, 'Early plantings of William Guilfoyle', Australian garden history, 7 (5) (1996), 19-20. Details
  • Maiden, J.H., 'Records of Australian Botanists', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, lv (1921), 60-132; 150-169. Details
  • Read, Stuart, 'Before Victoria: William Guilfoyle in New South Wales', Australian Garden History, 24 (1) (2012), 4-5. Details
  • Watson, Darren, 'William Guilfoyle and Staff Discipline in the Botanic Gardens', Victorian Historical Journal, 67 (1) (1996), 128-139. Details


See also

  • Aitken, Richard and Looker, Michael eds, The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2002), 700 pp. Details
  • Hall, Norman, Botanists of the Eucalypts: short biographies of people who have named eucalypts, whose names have been given to species or who have collected type material (Melbourne: CSIRO, 1978), 101 pp. Details

McCarthy, G.J.