Father of John Bailey (Government Botanist of South Australia, and first curator of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens).
Settled in Brisbane, in 1861, setting up a seedsman's business, and selling plant collections to British and European herbaria. He was appointed in 1875 to a Government Board set up to investigate diseases of livestock and plants, and travelled extensively throughout Queensland in search of poisonous plants.
He became Acting Curator of the Queensland Museum in 1880-1881, and was appointed Queensland Colonial Botanist in 1881, a position he held until his death. He conducted numerous collecting expeditions, the most important being to Rockingham Bay, Seaview Range and the upper Herbert River (1873), western Queensland, Roma and Rockhampton (1876), Cairns and the Barron River (1877), Bellenden Ker (1889), Georgina River (1895), Torres Strait (1897) and British New Guinea (1898). He published many papers on the Queensland flora, and several books, including Handbook of the Ferns of Queensland (1874), Illustrated Monograph of the Grasses of Queensland (1878) and the 7-volume The Queensland Flora (1899-1902, 1905). The latter is still the only State-wide Flora to have been produced, and was compiled by extracting Queensland-related material from Bentham's Flora Australiensis, and supplementing this with information from Mueller's two Censuses, and Bailey's own local knowledge.
A full bibliography of Bailey's work is given by Johnston (1916). Over 50 species have been named in his honour. The majority of his specimens are in BRI, with some Types at BM. Small quantities of material are also at A, AK, B, BM, CGE, DS, H, HO, K, L, M, MANCH, MEL, MO, NSW, OXF, P, PC, US.
“Bailey was kindly and lovable, rather spare and distinguished-looking, bearded and with drooping eyelids which in later life he had to prop up.”
Extracted from: A.E.Orchard (1999) A History of Systematic Botany in Australia, in Flora of Australia Vol.1, 2nd ed., ABRS. [consult for source references]
Son of John B., father of John F.B. Arrived S.A. 22 Mar. 1839, working there as nurseryman, later gold miner; farmed in N.Z. 1858-1861; moved to Brisbane, 1861, occupied as seedsman, plant collector, botanist on aboard inquiring into stock losses (1875); Acting Curator, Queensland Museum 1880-81; Colonial Botanist, Qld 1881-1915. Collected widely in Qld (including mosses, seaweeds, fungi [1000+ collections]), e.g. Cardwell, RockinghamBay, Seaview Ra., upper Herbert R. 1873, Brisbane area (most years), western Qld to Roma, the Maranoa, Warrego, Tambo & Rockhampton 1876, Cairns, Barron R. 1877, Glass House Mtns 1879, Maroochie July 1879, Stradbroke Is.(with B.Scortechini) 1881, Bunya Mtns May 1885, Bellenden Ker Ra. (with A.Meston q.v) 14 June-19 Aug. 1889 (but not Bellenden Ker itself, MtMassey, Walsh Pyramid or Bartle Frere) (see Dowe & Broughton, 2007, for listof new taxa), Aug. 1892, Diamantina R., Charters Towers June 1892, Fraser Is.Oct. 1892, Eumundi (with J.H.Simmonds) Nov. 1894, Georgina R. 1895,Torres Strait incl. Thursday Is. & Turtle Is. June 1897, Somerset 1897; also Moonta, S.A., Sept. 1886, New Guinea 1898.
Specimens mainly at BRI but also BM, CGE, G, GLAM, K, MANCH, MEL, NA, NSW, PC, PERTH etc.Sets of algae distributed as Bailey's Queensland Algae. Fungi sent mostly to C.Broome, later M.C.Cooke, G.Massee.
Published many papers & books incl. Handbook of the Ferns of Queensland (1874), Illustrated Monograph of the Grasses ofQueensland (1878), & The Queensland Flora (7 vols, 1899-1902, 1905). Elected FLS 1878; president, Roy. Soc. Qld 1890; W.B.Clarke Medal 1902; CMG 1911.
Commemorated in over 50 names incl. Alsophila, Coleochaete, Cyathea,Dendrobium, Eucalyptus, Eumitria, Hookeria, Hymenophyllum, Persea, Spbenoptens (fossil), Tecoma, Trichocladia, Usnea; also (jointly with American I.W. Bailey) Austrobaileya, a genus of rainforest lianes and house journal of the Queensland Herbarium.
Portrait: Brisbane Courier 1 July 1905 p. 12; Gilbert (2001) facing p.120; ASBS Newsletter 122: 9 (2005); Old Nat. 44: 8 (2006).
Source: George, A.S. (2009) Australian Botanist's Companion, Four Gables Press, WA. [consult for source references]