Botanical artist & fungi expert
I was born in the UK. In 1953, when I was six, our family immigrated to south-west WA. After finishing high school in Bunbury, I attended Claremont Teachers College and trained to be a primary school teacher. My first posting was to the Wheatbelt town of Dalwallinu where I met and married farmer Alex Symes. After a series of droughts, we left the farm at Wubin and in 1976 bought a small property just west of Denmark. In 1982, during a family holiday in Tasmania, I developed a real love of fungi and in the ensuing decades avidly studied, collected, sketched, painted and documented them for state herbaria. To date, I have made over 3000 fully documented collections of them.
As a long-standing member of the Botanical Artists Group, my artworks have been part of many exhibitions in south-west WA and my drawings and paintings are featured in the book ‘Fungi of Southern Australia‘ (1998), which I illustrated and co-authored with Neale L. Bougher. Over a number of years, I taught natural history illustration at the Albany Summer School.
In 2012, Alex became very ill, and I stopped work on fungi and painting to care for him. Since moving into town, I have resumed my work with a particular focus on sharing my fungi data with local groups who aim to protect natural areas. I hope they’ll be inspired to value and promote fungi and fungi habitat – there’s nothing more important!
Katrina Syme: Delving into the fascinating world of fungi
The world is waking up to the vital role of fungi in maintaining healthy ecosystems. They enrich our lives too, with their extraordinary shapes and colours. Here's fungi aficionado and expert, Katrina Syme, wooing us to be fungi lovers with her infectious excitement and knowledge about these remarkable organisms.