The late Janet Somerville (1887-1969) devoted a lifetime to her work in botany. She majored in the discipline in her science degree at the University of Tasmania, which she was awarded in 1940. From 1944 to 1965, Janet published several articles on the natural history of Tasmania, as well as some historical papers. However, her major work, commenced in 1958 on the botanical history of Tasmania from 1642 to 1820, was unpublished at the time of her death. The work had been assisted by a number of influential academic colleagues from the Botany Department at the University of Tasmania - Professor Newton Barber, Dr Winifred Curtis and Professor Bill Jackson - but all died before it was ultimately published in 2006 as a tribute to the immense contribution these four people made to our current understanding of the botany of Tasmania.
In 2013 this prize was instigated by her sister-in-law, Anne Somerville, from proceeds of the sale of Janet’s library, to allow her to be remembered as a gifted field naturalist and to encourage excellence in studies in plant science.
Awarded to the student determined to be the highest achiever across the three years of the Plant Science major.