Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born at Portsmouth, Hampshire, in early 1762, died in Antigua, West Indies, in 1836
The eldest child of Benjamin and Elizabeth (née Sinnatt) Dawes. He was christened there on 17 March 1762. His father was a clerk of works in the Ordnance Office at Portsmouth.
He joined the marines as Second Lieutenant on 2 September 1779 and was wounded in action against the French Navy in 1781.
From March 1788 Dawes was employed in the fledgling NSW settlement as an engineer and surveyor, and built his observatory on what is now Dawes Point, under the southern approach to Sydney Harbour Bridge. In his several roles, Dawes made astronomical observations, constructed batteries on the points at the entrance to Sydney Cove, laid out the government farm and first streets and allotments in Sydney and Parramatta. Dawes took part in several explorations to the mountains west of Sydney, beyond the Nepean River and the Cowpastures; the first attempt to cross the Blue Mountains. Dawes' skill in computing distances and map making were invaluable in the new colony.
He left the colony of NSW in 1791, his later career was mostly centred about the West Indies.
In the 2000s, Australian botanical illustrations surfaced that are attributed to William Dawes, these are now held by the the Dixon Library, State Library of NSW.
Source: Extracted from: Wikipedia profile: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Dawes_%28Royal_Marines_officer viewed 1/4/2014;
Anemaat, Louise (2014) 'Natural Curiosity: unseen art of the first fleet', State Library of NSW