Monday, December 21, 2009

John Beasley: sculptor, woodworker, award winning naturalist and outstanding botanical author!

Throughout our lives we encounter people who we admire and respect though we may never have met them and today I would like to introduce you to one such person.

It was with great pleasure that I read the following article on 26 November 2009 by Cairns Post environment journalist Julie Lightfoot.
Click on image for larger view.

The upper photograph was of John Beasley holding a well deserved Wet Tropics Management Award for his contribution to conservation in the Kuranda region and also his years of research into the plants of Tropical North Queensland and Cape York.

The lower photograph was an error which I will have to blame on Cairns Post editorial staff as I know how thorough Julie Lightfoot is with her research!

The Illustrated plant is Nepenthes rowanae and not the plant that John discovered.

You can see the plant that John found below and it may well prove to be a new species!
Johns pitcher: copyright John Beasley

John Beasley is a man of many talents and a lot of people that know about his books would have no clue that he is a master woodworker and sculptor. Here are some examples of his work.
Sea Kelp eddy: copyright John Beasley

Off the reef: copyright John Beasley

To see more of John’s beautiful work, a visit to John’s home page is well worthwhile. Fortunately John still finds time to do some commission work.

I know John Beasley best as the author of one of my very favourite books, ‘Plants of Tropical North Queensland, the Compact Guide’.

This book is a treasure and has received a lot of use and abuse from me over the years. In a recent email John said it was due for a revision and I think he has his work cut out if he thinks he can improve this book! Expand maybe, but improving it would be difficult.

John has given me permission to share some scans of this book with you on the blog so here they are!
Copyright John Beasley

There are some clever features in this book like the rounded corners (a must have in any field guide) and a ruler on the back page!
Copyright John Beasley

John gave me the ok to share some pages with you too and here are two of his favourites, pages 81 and 127 respectively.
Copyright John Beasley

Copyright John Beasley

This book contains 485 plant descriptions all with photographs.

I cannot praise this book too highly and it’s a ‘must have’ for anyone with an interest in our North Queensland plants. At 20 dollars it’s a steal and I would happily pay three times that amount to replace my copy if I lost it!

There’s more good news!

John has just released a new book about Cape York plants titled ‘Plants of Cape York, the compact guide’. Here is a photograph of the front cover.
Copyright John Beasley

I would love to show you what it looks like inside but I don’t own a copy so that makes things a little tricky.

Here’s some more information about this book.

‘Plants of Cape York—The Compact Guide’

Coming soon—Available late November/early December 2009.

Please order promptly to ensure Christmas supplies.

Book Details:

* Title: ‘Plants of Cape York—The Compact Guide’
* Author: John Beasley
* 240 pages A5 format.
* Over 600 plants—over 1800 photographs
* PVC jacket—rounded corners
* ISBN: [978-0-9806863-0-2]

To Order:

Contact the author with order details (28 copies per carton)

Email beasley AT

Phone (07) 40 930303

Mail John Beasley, 106 Douglas Track, Kuranda, Qld 4881

RRP $24.90 per book.

Wholesale price $13.58 + Postage (Where applicable)

This book adds to ‘Plants of Tropical North Queensland’, identifying many plants which are also found outside of Cape York.

John has also let me know that he is happy to sell SIGNED copies of his book directly and he can be contacted at beasley AT

Think I best do that myself in the near future before he runs out.

I would like to say thank you to John Beasley for his contributions to conservation, art and botany over the years. Not to mention his contribution to my knowledge of tropical Queensland’s plants!

I will finish up with a little photo I recently shared with John of an Endangered Bramston Beach pitcher plant Nepenthes mirabilis enjoying a meal of green ants Oecophylla sp!

Cheers Russ

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