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Biographical entry Fraser, Lilian Ross (c. 1908 - 1987)

c. 1908
Kurrajong, New South Wales, Australia
5 October 1987
Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia
Botanist and Public servant


Lillian Ross Fraser was a botanist whose work identifying fungii and viruses was hugely beneficial to the New South Wales citrus industry.

She identified several highly destructive diseases including Phytophthora citrophthora fungus (root rot), seedling yellows, woody gall and Australian citrus dieback. She also did pioneering research on many other established diseases.


In 1940 Lilian Ross Fraser was employed as assistant plant pathologist at the New South Wales Department of Agriculture, the first woman to be employed in that position.

In the early 1940s she identified the soil-inhabiting Phytophthora citrophthora root rot fungus, which had caused major damage to the New South Wales citrus industry. She was the first person to do so, and also established which citrus species were resistant to the fungus.

For this work she became the first woman accepted into the Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science.

In 1960 she was appointed Senior Biologist at the Department, before being promoted to Chief Biologist at their Biological and Chemical Research Institute in 1968. In 1973 she retired from the Institute.


Education - Bachelor of Science in Botany (Hons.), University of Sydney
Education - Doctorate of Science in Botany, University of Sydney
c. 1938
Education - Studied fungal taxonomy at the Imperial Mycological Institute, London
c. 1938
Education - Studied fungal taxonomy at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London
1939 - 1940
Career position - Commonwealth Research Fellow studying fungal decay in apples, University of Sydney
1940 - 1960
Career position - Assistant Plant Pathologist, New South Wales Department of Agriculture
1960 - 1968
Career position - Senior Biologist, New South Wales Department of Agriculture
1968 - 1973
Career position - Chief Biologist, Biological and Chemical Research Institute, New South Wales
Life event - Retired from the Biological and Chemical Research Institute.

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Journal Articles

  • Barkley, P., 'Lilian Ross Fraser 1909-1987', Australasian Plant Pathology, 16 (4) (1987), 96. Details


Rebecca Rigby