Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born 12th October 1869, East Maitland, NSW, died Wagga Wagga, NSW, 11th October, 1939.
Joseph Wilfred Dwyer, D. D., Bishop of Wagga, was born at East Maitland, New South Wales, the son of William Dwyer, and Inspector of Schools in New South Wales and Anastasis Dermody.
He was educated first at Dominican Convent, Newcastle, New South Wales, then at the Boys Roman Catholic school, Newcastle and then at St. Patricks College, Goulburn in New South wales. He later went to the Holy Cross College, Cloncliffe, Dublin and the Propoganda College in Rome from 1891 to 1894.
In 1894 Joseph Dwyer was ordained a priest at St. Johns Lateran in Rome. He returned to Australia to become Professor at St. Patricks College in Goulburn, New South Wales where he remained till 1896. It was during this time that Joseph Dwyer first became interested in the study of Australian botany and the subject of the native flora was to become for him a source of great interest, one that occupied a great deal of his time throughout his whole life.
From Goulburn Dwyer went to Gundagai, New South Wales, for two years and then to Wagga where he was made curate from 1898 to 1903. Joseph Dwyer became an inspector of Roman Catholic schools in New South Wales and later an administrator of them for over five years when he lived in Albury in New South Wales. He then became the parish priest of Temora, NSW from 1912 to 1918 and in the 13th October, 1918 Joseph Dwyer was consecrated first Bishop of Wagga.
During all this time, living in so many different areas of New South Wales, Dwyer was able to closely observe the great variety of native flora of this state and he began to make collections from all the areas he lived in and visited.
The study of the flora of New South Wales was his one great pleasure and recreation and in 1920 he joined the Linnean Society of New South Wales remaining a member for the rest of his life. Though he did not actually publish any papers in its Proceedings, he always took a most active interest in its meetings and affairs.
Joseph Dwyer did publish one paper in the Australian Naturalist, vol.4, 1918-1921, pp. 212-224, A floral survey of the south western slopes of N.S. Wales round about Temora and Barmedman'.
Bishop Dwyer died at Lewisham Hospital in Wagga, New South Wales on the 11th October, 1939 and was buried in St. Michaels Cathedral at Wagga.
His niece, Mother M. Francesca was in charge of the Mt. Erin Convent at Wagga and it is at the Mt. Erin Convent that his collection of botanical specimens and many of his books were deposited. At a later date it is assumed that the collection of botanical specimens and books which were at the Mt Erin Convent were transferred to the Canberra Botanic Gardens (probably 1960s) - certainly there are Dwyer specimens in the Australian National Herbarium and there are numerous books form Dwyer's collection in the Australian National Botanic Gardens library.
Based on: Roberts, Ruth & Whitten, Margaret (197?) Biographies of Australian botanists. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra.
Alexander, Joseph A: Editor; Whos Who in Australia. Melbourne, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd., 1938, p.176.
Macdonald Holmes, Professor Janes: Obituary. in his Presidential Address, P.L.S.N.S.W., v.65, 1940, p.1
Biographical information given by the Most Rev. F. P. Carroll, Bishop of Wagga.
Nairn, Bede & Serle, Geoffrey (eds)(1981) Australian dictionary of biography. Volume 8. Melbourne University Press, Carlton. pp. 387-389.