The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Schomburgk, Richard Von

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Schomburgk, Richard Von, Ph.D., was the son of the late Rev. J. F. L. Schomburgk, a Lutheran minister in Thuringia, and brother of Sir Robert Schomburgk, formerly consul at Bangkok, who was associated with Baron von Humboldt in his scientific researches in South America. He was born at Fribault, in Saxony, in 1811; and,having studied botany at Berlin and in the Royal Gardens at Potsdam, accompanied his brother on several of his expeditions—notably that to British Guiana in 1840, where the latter acted as Commissioner for delimiting its boundaries. Returning to Germany, the subject of this notice became involved in the political troubles of the time, and, aided by his friends—Humboldt and Leopold von Buch—escaped punishment by a timely flight to South Australia, whither his brother Otto accompanied him. They bought land on the Gawler river, and engaged in farming and viticulture, calling their new location Buchsfeldt, in honour of the friend who had assisted them in securing their safety. Their wines quickly achieved a reputation; but after ten years Otto von Schomburgk died, and his brother, who had been curator of the Gawler Museum, accepted the post of Director of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Secretary to the Board of Governors. When he went to them the Gardens were little better than a wilderness, but under his skilful management a revolution was quickly effected, and progress was begun towards the perfection now attained. In 1888 Dr. Schomburgk was appointed a member of the Central Agricultural Bureau of South Australia. He was decorated with several foreign orders, and was a member of a number of the leading natural history and scientific societies on the continent of Europe and in the colonies. He died on March 24th, 1890.