John Roslyn Garnet (1906–1998), known as Ros., was a scientist who had a distinguished career with the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories.
Through his connection with the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, he was one of the founders of the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) and its honorary secretary for 21 years from its establishment in 1952. In 1982 he was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for services to conservation.
He had a particular interest in the flora, fauna and human history of Wilsons Promontory National Park, one of Victoria’s most loved natural icons and the southernmost part of the Australian mainland.
Over several decades he researched the history of ‘the Prom’ (as it is affectionately known to Victorians) and wrote the text for a book on the subject which he completed in the early 1980s and hoped to publish.
This did not eventuate, but the text has now been placed on the web as a useful reference for anyone researching the fascinating history of Wilsons Promontory and as a tribute to Ros.
In addition to Ros’s text, there is a history of Wilsons Promontory during the Second World War (1939-45) by teacher and historian Terry Synan, and an account by Daniel Catrice, formerly Historian with the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, of the Prom’s history from 1945 to 1998. The latter year was the centenary of the park’s establishment.
Ros. Garnet’s text is reproduced in its original form with minor corrections of typing and grammatical errors but no revisions. Ros. did not record all the sources of his history and so it cannot be easily checked. However, it contains much interesting and valuable information not readily available elsewhere.
It should be noted that Ros. included a chapter on the Aboriginal history of the Promontory but added a later hand-written note that the chapter should be revised. He was unable to carry out this revision, and as the existing text would need considerable updating it has been omitted.
We hope to add a revised chapter on Aboriginal history at a later date and wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of the Promontory (which was known to Indigenous people as Yiruk or Wamoom), the importance of its many thousands of years of Aboriginal history, and the ongoing involvement of local Aboriginal communities with the national park.
Chapters on the geology and flora of the Prom have also been omitted. The geology story has been partly superseded by later research, and the flora material is included in Ros’s book The Wildflowers of Wilsons Promontory.
The VNPA gratefully acknowledges the work of Leon Costermans, who transcribed Ros. Garnet’s original typewritten text into digital text, and of Gwenyth Vivien, who carried out some preliminary editing and correcting of the text.
We encourage readers who would like to help look after Wilsons Promontory National Park to contact the Friends of the Prom, who carry out regular surveys and working bees in the park. See www.friendsoftheprom.org.au or phone (03) 9752 3846.
More information about the Prom can be found on Parks Victoria’s website www.parkweb.vic.gov.au.
Please note that the VNPA does not accept any responsibility or liability for omissions or errors of fact or interpretation in the attached documents on the history of Wilsons Promontory. Copyright in Ros. Garnet’s History rests with the VNPA; copyright of the documents by Terry Synan and Daniel Catrice rests with the respective authors.
Executive Director VNPA