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John Buchanan (F.L.S.) was born 13 October 1819 at Levenside (Strathleven) Dunbartonshire, Scotland. His parents were William Buchanan and Nancy Somerville and he was the eldest of four children.

He served an apprenticeship as a pattern designer and was a foreman of a drawing shop and eventually emigrated to New Zealand on the 'Columbus" in 1852

Buchanan was distinguished as an artist (his Mitre Peak painting is a New Zealand icon) and as a botanist and a field geologist.

He was employed by James Hector to work with him on the geological survey of the Otago Province. Earlier he worked with Alexander Garvie on survey work and was the first (but officially unrecognised) discoverer of gold in Otago, in the Tuapeka and Clutha rivers, predating Gabriel Read by a year or two. He followed Hector to Wellington and worked with him in the Colonial Museum

His plant collections were used at the New Zealand Exhibition in 1865 in the display of the Geological Survey of Otago. In 1868 his 'Sketch of the Botany of Otago' was published in the 'Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute'. He also published many scientific papers as well as 'The indigenous grasses of New Zealand' about 1878. He was made a Fellow of the Linnean Society (F.L.S.) in 1880.

He had ten acres of land in North East Valley that he retired to late in life .

Information from David Galloway

John Buchanan

Monumental Inscription

18th OCT 1898

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