S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Billinghurst, Mr Farncombe Lovett (entomology)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

Farncombe Lovett Billinghurst, son of Henry Farncombe Billinghurst and his first wife Rose Lovett, was a naturalist who lived in Grahamstown from 1882 or earlier to the latter half of 1886. He was a founding member and first secretary of the Grahamstown Natural History Society (1884-1887). At the society's first meeting on 8 December 1884, which was held in his home, he was requested to formulate provisional rules to regulate the society's proceedings. In February 1885 he delivered a paper on the butterflies of the Grahamstown region, of which he had collected 75 species during the past three years. At the society's meeting in November that year he showed members some moth larvae, while in January 1886 he presented another paper on butterflies, illustrated by his own specimens. In June 1886 he read a paper on silk culture before the same society. This paper was based on a book published in 1874 by a Swiss silk merchant, Ernest de Bavier, which Billinghurst had translated into English under the title Japan's silk industry and trade. His paper dealt mainly with the rearing of silk worms. Meanwhile, in December 1884 he had also exhibited insects at a conversazione of the Eastern Province Naturalists Society (1882-1923) in Port Elizabeth. The Albany Museum in Grahamstown received coleoptera and some marine and land snails from him during 1885 and he helped the curator, B.J. Glanville* with the classification of the museum's insect collection.

Billinghurst left for Australia during 1886. Glanville remarked in his annual report for that year that the Albany Museum had thus lost an "enthusiastic and energetic helper". In Australia Billinghurst settled in Castlemain, Victoria, and continued his activities in natural history. He published papers on the land and fresh water molluscs of the Castlemain region (1894), the butterflies of the same region (1896), and the dragon-flies of Australia (1901), all in the Victorian Naturalist, as well as a list of the birds of the Castlemain region in the journal Wombat (1899). He was married to Florence Evelyn Dixon.

List of sources:

The Brinsmead family lines in England: Rosa Ann Brinsmead and the Billinghurst family. http://www.brinsmead.net/englishlines/2billinghurst.html

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the committee of the Albany Museum, 1885, 1886.

Eastern Province Naturalists' Society. Minute Book, 1882-1885.

Grahamstown Journal, 10 December 1884, p. 3; 19 February 1885, p. 2; 19 November 1885, p. 3; 27 January 1886, p. 2, "Grahamstown Natural History Society"; 11 June 1886, p. 3, "Silk-culture".

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

Compiled by: C. Plug