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Biographical entry Hewson, Helen (1938 - 2007)

26 June 1938
Benalla, Victoria, Australia
29 October 2007
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Botanical illustrator, Botanist and Scientific editor


Following PhD studies in the bryophyte family Aneuraceae and a number of years teaching at tertiary institutions, Helen Hewson played an integral role in the establishment and development of the Flora of Australia program of the Bureau of Flora and Fauna (later the Australian Biological Resources Study). Initially employed to establish the standards for writing flora treatments, she both wrote and edited entries for the Flora, ultimately becoming Director of the Flora Section of ABRS. Volume 28 of the Flora was dedicated to her. Her Plant indumentum (1988) was published to facilitate consistent application of terms in the descriptions of species in Flora treatments. In her taxonomic research Hewson described one new family, two new genera and many other taxa. She was an accomplished botanical artist, her illustrations being used in many of her publications. Several mosses and other plants were named in her honour.



Education - BSc, University of Sydney
1981 - 1991
Career position - Editor and Flora writer, Bureau of Flora and Fauna
Education - BA, Canberra College of Education
1991 - 1995
Career position - Director, Flora Section, Australian Biological Resources Study
1995 - 1997
Career position - Director Botany, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Deputy Director, Plant Biodiversity Centre Research
Life event - Retired

Published resources


  • Hewson, Helen, Australia: 300 Years of Botanical Illustration (Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 1999), 228 pp. Details
  • Hewson, Helen J., Brunonia Australis: Robert Brown and his Contribution to the Botany of Victoria (Canberra: Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, 2002), 51 pp. Details
  • Rowan, Ellis, Flower paintings of Ellis Rowan: from the collection of the National Library of Australia, with an introduction by Margaret Hazzard and notes on the flowers by Helen Hewson (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1982), 20 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Hewson, Helen, 'Justice for Justice Barron Field', Telopea, 11 (1) (2005), 95-8. Details
  • Wilson, Annette, 'Vale Helen Hewson 1938-2007', Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter, 133 (2007), 37-41. Details


Helen Cohn