Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gunn, Robert Campbell

Ronald Campbell Gunn in the ODNB.

GUNN, ROBERT CAMPBELL (1808–1881), naturalist, son of an officer in the army, was born at the Cape of Good Hope, 4 April 1808, and as a child moved with his father to Bourbon (when that place was captured), the Mauritius, the West Indies, and Scotland. His first appointment was in the royal engineers' department at Barbadoes until 1829, when he emigrated to Tasmania. Here he acted as assistant-superintendent of convict prisons, and was afterwards promoted to superintendent, to which were attached the functions of police magistrate and coroner. Gunn's latent love for natural history was awakened by association with an enthusiastic colonial naturalist in 1831, William Lawrence, who died the following year. A correspondence was soon opened with Sir William Hooker and Dr. Lindley, who sent out books and scientific apparatus in exchange for the plants sent home from Tasmania. A large series of mammals, birds, reptiles, and mollusca were sent to Dr. J. E. Gray, and are now in the British Museum. He was elected F.L.S. in January 1850, and F.R.S. 1 June 1854. In 1864 Gunn was appointed one of the three commissioners charged to advise upon the most suitable position for the capital of New Zealand, the decision being Wellington. Gunn helped to form the Royal Society of Tasmania. He died at Hobart Town 14 March 1881.

[Proc. Linn. Soc. 1880-2, p. 64; Proc. Royal Soc. No. 222, 1882.]

B. D. J.