Moritz Richard Schomburgk

Moritz Richard Schomburgk (5 October 1811 – 24 March 1891),[1] generally known as Richard Schomburgk, was a German botanist and curator of the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Richard Schomburgk.jpeg

Schomburgk was born in Freyburg, Saxony, the son of Johann Friedrich Ludwig Schomburgk (a Lutheran minister in Thuringia),[2] and his wife Christiane Juliane Wilhelmine, née Krippendorf.[1] Schomburgk studied botany at Berlin and in the Royal Gardens at Potsdam.[2] In 1844 he went on the Prussian-British expedition to British Guiana and Brazil, led by his brother Robert. He collected for the Museum of the University of Berlin. After the political turmoil in Europe in 1848, he emigrated to Gawler, South Australia. In 1865, he became Director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, a position he kept until his death and was succeeded by Maurice William Holtze. He wrote Versuch einer Zusammenstellung der Flora und Fauna von Britisch-Guiana (1848).

Schomburgk died in Adelaide, South Australia; he was survived by a son and four daughters.[1]


Schomburgk married Pauline Henriette Kneib (c. 1822 – 24 July 1879) at sea aboard Princess Louise. Among their children were:

  • Otto Schomburgk (c. 1858 – 1 September 1938), who held several important posts such as Chief Probation Officer with the South Australian public service.[3] He married Ada Louise Downer, daughter of Henry Downer
  • Eldest daughter Marie Caroline Schomburgk married widower Rev James Sunter in Sydney on 28 May 1894

His older brother, Sir Robert Hermann Schomburgk (5 June 1804 – 11 March 1865), carried out geographical, ethnological and botanical studies in South America and the West Indies (in which Moritz Richard participated) and also fulfilled diplomatic missions for Great Britain in the Dominican Republic and Thailand.

Another brother Otto Alfred Carl Schomburgk (28 August 1810 – 16 August 1857) and his wife Maria Charlotte Schomburgk née Von Selchow, arrived in South Australia with Moritz Richard Schomburgk aboard the Princess Louise in August 1849.

His youngest brother, Julius Ludwig Schomburgk, (c. 1818 - 9 March 1893), was chief designer for noted Adelaide silversmith J. M. Wendt.

A sister, Caroline Schomburgk ( – 15 November 1874), was the second wife of Rev. Dr. Carl Wilhelm Ludwig Muecke (16 July 1815 – 4 January 1898) of Tanunda, a fellow passenger on the Princess Louise.


Moritz Richard Schomburgk is commemorated in the scientific name of a species of Australian lizard, Ctenotus schomburgkii.[4][5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Middelmann, Raoul F. "Schomburgk, Moritz Richard (1811–1891)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 8 August 2013 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ a b Mennell, Philip (1892). "Schomburgk, Richard Von" . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ "Former Sheriff Dies, Aged 80". The Advertiser. Adelaide, S.A.: National Library of Australia. 1 September 1938. p. 18. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  4. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Schomburgk", p. 237).
  5. ^ Species Ctenotus schomburgkii at The Reptile Database www.reptile-database-org.
  6. ^ IPNI.  M.R.Schomb.

Further readingEdit

  • Orchard, A.E. (1999) A History of Systematic Botany in Australia, in Flora of Australia Vol.1, 2nd ed., ABRS.
  • Roth, Walter E. (editor and translator) (1922–1923). Richard Schomburgk’s Travels in British Guiana 1840–1844. (2 volumes). Georgetown: Daily Chronicle Office.
  • "Robert Schomburgk and Richard Schomburgk" In: Taylor, Tom; Taylor, Michael (2011). Aves: A Survey of the Literature of Neotropical Ornithology. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Libraries.

External linksEdit