DicK Burns OAM was added to The Kate and Gustav Weindorfer Honours List in December 2018. The following citation was written by Jenny Pearce in honour of Dick’s contribution to the conservation of the Cradle Valley.
Born in Sydney, Dick Burns arrived in Tasmania in 1970 to teach science and maths in high schools. He immediately developed an interest in bushwalking and joined the North West Walking Club. The Cradle Mountain area, right on his doorstep, became a special place for him and the centre of his studies of nature. He introduced many young people to bushwalking in the Cradle Mountain area – scouts, school groups, and botany students, as well as leading many adventurous and informative trips with the Walking Club.
Dick taught himself field botany with a little help from friends. He collected material for various institutions, especially the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra. He was also curator of the Tasmanian section for the Arboretum at Eugenana for many years. He has written plant identikits for three of Tasmania’s National Parks, the first one being for the Cradle Mountain Day Walk Area, as well as a book on the geology and landforms of Cradle Mountain. His knowledge of the Cradle Mountain area is unsurpassed.
He has also written Pathfinders in Tasmanian Botany which reveals the stories, interactions and commitment of the range of people involved in Tasmanian botany. In 2013 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to botany.
Dick has been a volunteer at Cradle Mountain, standing on the tracks around Dove Lake wearing a badge: ‘Ask me a question’. Walkers and tourists stopped to talk and asked him questions about the area. I think he would always have the right answers.