Lilian Ross Fraser

Lilian Ross Fraser botanist in the Sydney Sun in 1937 after discovering "fungus"

Lilian Ross Fraser (1908– 5 October 1987) was an Australian botanist. She became the first woman inducted as a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science.


Fraser was born in 1908, she was the daughter of Mr and Mrs C. Fraser of Pennant Hills. After graduating from Sydney Girls' High School,[1] she attended the University of Sydney where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree.[2] Fraser then conducted her postgraduate research at her Alma mater which included a study of the taxonomy of sooty moulds.[3] She conducted fieldwork alongside Joyce Winifred Vickery of the Barrington Tops National Park rainforest species in the 1930s[4] before earning her Master's degree.[5] Fraser and Vickery co-discovered Lomandra hystrix , which they published in Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 62: 286 1937.[6] Fraser eventually became the first Australian female to earn a Doctorate of Science in New South Wales by 1937. Upon receiving her doctorate, she also became the first female Australian botanist and left to complete her graduate studies at Imperial College, in London.[1]

Fraser eventually accepted a position with the Australian Department of Agriculture in 1940 as an assistant plant pathologist.[7] Alongside R. J. Swaby, she studied citrus diseases,[8] and co-discovered that Phytophthora citrophthora in citrus trees along Murrumbidgee irrigation areas were the cause of a decline in their growth.[9] As a result of her scientific accomplishments, Fraser became the first woman inducted as a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science[7] and the second female president of the Linnean Society in 1948.[10]

By August 1960, she was promoted to Senior Biologist at the New South Wales Department of Agriculture.[11] In the following years, she discovered that her collections of smut fungi led to the discovery of Sphacelotheca mutabilis, Sorosporium polycarpum, Ustilago serena, Ustilago valentula, and Sorosporium fraserianum and two new species, Entyloma arctotis and Sporisorium lingii.[12] By the time Fraser retired in 1973, she has been promoted to Chief Biologist of the Biological and Chemical Research Institute at Rydalmere.[3]

The standard author abbreviation L.R.Fraser is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Woman Doctor of Science". Sydney Sun. New South Wales. May 20, 1937. 
  2. ^ "High Honors Gained By Women Students". Sydney Daily Telegraph. New South Wales. May 17, 1937. 
  3. ^ a b Tom W.May; Ian G.Pascoe (1996). "FUNGI OF AUSTRALIA" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Vickery, Joyce Winifred (1908-1979)". 19 April 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Master of Science Degrees". Sydney Morning Herald. New South Wales. April 30, 1932. 
  6. ^ "Lomatia arborescens L.R.Fraser & Vickery". Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b Barkley, P. (1987). "Fraser, Lilian Ross (1908-1987)". Australasian Plant Pathology. 16 (4): 96. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Soil Microbe Research". Sydney Land. New South Wales. December 13, 1940. 
  9. ^ "Root Rot in Citrus". Renmark Murray Pioneer. South Australia. November 5, 1942. 
  10. ^ "Linnean Society". Sydney Smiths Weekly. New South Wales. April 17, 1948. 
  11. ^ "Top position for scientist". Parramatta Cumberland Argus. New South Wales, Parramatta. 31 August 1960. 
  12. ^ "Smut Fungi of Australia HISTORY". Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  13. ^ IPNI.  L.R.Fraser.

Further readingEdit

  • P. Barkley, 1987, Australasian Plant Pathology, 16(4): 96.
  • Brummitt, R.K. & Powell, C.E., Authors Pl. Names (1992): 209; Lanjouw, J. & Stafleu, F.A., Index Herb. Coll. E-H (1957): 207; Vegter, H.I., Index Herb. Coll. N-R (1983): 787;