Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born in England c. 1760s, died on the Nepean River, New South Wales, on 13 April 1792.
He was Public Gardener and Superintendent of Convicts at Parramatta 1791-1792.
Sketcher, natural historian and superintendent of convicts, came to New South Wales on board the Gorgon in September 1790. On the recommendation of Joseph Banks he had been appointed superintendent of convicts at an annual salary of £40, but Banks privately agreed to pay him an extra £20 a year to act as his collector of botanical specimens.
While duck-shooting on the Nepean River on 7 April 1792, Burton was severely injured in the arm by an accidental discharge from his gun. He was carried back to Parramatta where he died on 13 April. David Collins wrote of his death:
"This young man, on account of the talents he possessed as a botanist, and the services which he was capable of rendering in the surveying line, could be but ill spared in this settlement".
Burton's effects included: 'a thermometer, insect collecting apparatus, specimen boxes, a drawing book, paints and some sketches'. The whereabouts of any sketches executed for Banks is unknown, but many sketches in Banks's collection in the British Museum (Natural History) are unsigned, while others made for Banks have apparently been lost.
His collections are in BM.
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];
Dictionary of Australian Artists Online, viewed May 2009.