Faculty of ScienceFaculty of Science

The Collections

The Don McNair Herbarium has over 14,500 specimens in its collection from across all states of Australia. Of these, 10,862 are from the regions of New South Wales with a focus on the North Coast/Central Coast/Central Western Slopes and the North Far Western Plains. The specimens have been collected over a period of 67 years (1949-today) and provide a valuable information resource on the history and distribution of flora, particularly, in the Hunter and central coast region of New South Wales.

The collection has within it a number of significant specimen collection areas including, but not limited to, the following four.

Tomago Sands

This collection of 556 specimens was collected as part of Don McNair’s research into the flora of the Port Stephens and Tomago regions. The work carried out and species collected, records the impact of sand mining on species diversity across a number of years yielding valuable data on temporal changes in the flora.

Left: Isopogan anemonifolius specimen collected in 1999.
Right: Xylomelum pyriforme speciment collected in 2001 by Don McNair.

National Parks and Wildlife

The National Parks and Wildlife Services donated a collection of 1,743 specimens, which was gathered as a part of a vegetation and mapping survey of the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast Region of NSW, undertaken by the Environment Division of Hunter Councils Inc. on behalf of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (HCRCMA). This collection provides a comprehensive picture of the flora of these regions.

Left: Grevillea montana specimen collected by T.Peake in 1998 as part of the Hunter Remnant Vegetation Project.
Right: Macrozamia flexusa specimen collected by T.Peake in 1999 as part of the Hunter Remnant Vegetation Project.

JC Turner Collection

This collection of 1,636 specimens was collected over a 20 year period by Dr JC Turner, an academic at The University of Newcastle, whose area of interest was the rainforest flora of New South Wales. He also collected from the Grafton Range and Chinchilla in Queensland.

Phyllanthus gasstroemii specimen collected near the Grafton Range in 1990 by John Turner.

Arid Zones

The arid zones represented in the collection include 1,475 specimens from the arid regions of New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory. These specimens were collected by Don McNair and JC Dorman over a 40 year period from the early 1960’s.

Acacia peuce specimen collected near Birdsville in 1997 by Don McNair.

The collection is housed in two compactus units in a sealed fire protected storage area. The specimens are stored in boxes within the storage units and are frozen on entry and then annually on a rotation basis to control pests.

The Don McNair Herbarium also holds a collection of botanical illustrations associated with the University of Newcastle’s degree program in Natural History Illustration. This collection has been acquired in association with the Tina Offler and John Patrick Acquisition Prize for Natural History Illustration, with the winning illustration being donated to The Don McNair Herbarium.