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Queensland Herbarium's first female director Gillian Brown reveals Mount Coot-tha botanical collection

Gillian Brown has a quietly commanding presence as she stands in the foyer of the Queensland Herbarium, nestled among foliage on the grounds of Mount Coot-tha's Botanic Gardens.

After seven years as the organisation's principal botanist, collections manager and science leader, Dr Brown became its ninth director last December — and the first woman appointed to the position since the herbarium opened in 1859.
The herbarium holds more than 900,000 species of plants, flowers, fungus and algae, including some specimens dating back to the 1700s when English botanist Joseph Banks encountered Australia on a voyage to the southern hemisphere with Captain James Cook.

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A woman with short blonde hair wears a green shirt with a ruffle and stands in front of a large floral mural.

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