Gerry Turpin


BSc (Botany)


E2.108C, Sir Robert Norman Building (E2), James Cook University, PO Box 6811, Cairns QLD 4870


+61 (0)7 4232 1809


+61 (0)7 4232 1842




The Australian Tropical Herbarium houses the recently established Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre, in partnership with James Cook University, DISITI, CSIRO and other government agencies and organizations. Functions of the centre include:

  • Supporting Indigenous decision-making about plants and plant knowledge

  • Protection of Indigenous intellectual and cultural property rights over plants

  • Keeping traditional and cultural knowledge alive

  • Focusing on building up trust with Traditional Owners before involving other agencies

  • Passing cultural knowledge on to the younger generation

  • Getting information back into the community

Current Projects

  • Researching history of ethnobotany in North Queensland from literature such as explorer's, early science and aboriginal protector journals/diaries from DERM, university and state libraries.

  • Recording and documenting traditional plant use with various Indigenous communities in North Queensland, particularly on Cape York Peninsula. Plant collections are incorporated into the Australian Tropical Herbarium.

  • The Miromaa Database system is used so that it is easily accessible by the members of the community.

  • Medicinal plants of the Mbabaram peoples – pilot project

Selected Publications

Hill R, Turpin G, Canendo W, Standley P, Crayn DM, Warne E, Keith K, Addicott E, Zich F (2011) Indigenous-driven tropical ethnobotany. Australian Plant Conservation 19(4): 24-25.

Turpin G, Bannink P, Richter, D (2011) Vegetation Communities and Regional Ecosystem 1:100,000 Survey and Mapping of the Channel Country Bioregion: Betoota 1:250,000 map sheet.

Turpin, G.P., Thomas, M.B. (2009). A vegetation communities and regional ecosystem survey and mapping of Cravens Peak. Cravens Peak Scientific Study Report 311-328

Thomas, M.B. and Turpin, G.P. (2009). Vascular plants collected during the Cravens Peak Scientific Study 2nd – 7th April 2007. Cravens Peak Scientific Study Report 301-310