F.C. Fernando was granted a surveying licence in Natal in 1900. He entered the Natal civil service in May 1903 and on 1 October that year was appointed as a forester in the Department of Agriculture. He was stationed at Ngwangwane, on the border with the Transkei, where he remained for several years. He published two articles on his forestry work: "Wood and bark" (Natal Agricultural Journal, 1907, Vol. 10(4), pp. 339-349) and "Tree growth at Centocow, Natal" (Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope, 1910, Vol. 37(6), pp. 671-680). In 1915 he applied for a transfer to either the Indian or Ceylon Forest Departments.
Fernando collected plants and presented specimens to the Albany Museum in Grahamstown. In 1905 he published an article on "Insectivorous plants" in the Natal Agricultural Journal (Vol. 8, pp. 671-).