LUCY CRANWELL

Lucy Cranwell was a pioneering, internationally renowned botanist, born in 1907 in Henderson. Her father was an orchardist who developed land in Pomaria and her family homestead became Henderson's Cranwell Park. Cranwell received an MA in Botany from The University of Auckland in 1929 and went on to become the inaugural curator for Botany at the Auckland Museum when she was only 21 - a post she held until 1944.  
She was famous for being an intrepid tramper in the Waitakere Ranges, collecting plant specimens for the extensive herbarium she created at the Museum.  Her love of tramping even inspired a poem; 'Tramping Girls of Auckland' written in 1930, about a rainy three-day trek from the Anawhata Hut (that she helped to build) to the Swanson railway station. Cranwell often tramped with fellow botanist Lucy Moore, the two becoming know as the  'two Lucys'. Fieldwork conducted by the 'two Lucys' took them to the King Country forests, Te Moehau peak on the Coromandel, and to Maungapohatu in Te Urewera in the 1920s and 30s.
Cranwell's scientific work was in the area palynology, the study of microfossils and pollens that provide insight into botanical and geological history. Her study of pollen from bogs helped to build knowledge of the ancient links between New Zealand and the supercontinent Gondwana.

Further research material can be found at: The West Auckland Research Centre, Waitakere Central Library Level 2, 3 Ratanui Street, Henderson, Tel: 09 440 7003 or email.

 

References:

Obituary in the Yearbook of the Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand 2000

Obituary by Ewen Cameron in the New Zealand Journal of Botany 

http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/includes/download.aspx?ID=88771

University of Arizona obituary 

http://www.geo.arizona.edu/palynology/lcrnwobt.html

Icons of the West - Lucy Cranwell  

http://thetrusts.co.nz/icons-west-lucy-m-cranwell/ Access 14/08/16

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