John Rowland Skemp, naturalist and social historian, was born on 2 July 1900 at Launceston, Tasmania, son of Benjamin Rowland Skemp and his wife Florence, nee Kearney. His father and uncle owned a small farm at Myrtle Bank near Launceston. After obtaining a B.Sc at the University of Tasmania, JR Skemp was a teacher for the Education Department and later an educational officer for the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, where he gave talks on natural history. His first book was Memories of Myrtle Bank (Melbourne, 1952). In his retirement he lived at Myrtle Park and wrote about nature and local history. He was a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania (1932-36, 1954-66) and a founding member of the Launceston Field Naturalists Club. He died on 12 May 1966 at Launceston. His Myrtle Bank property was left to the Field Naturalists Club and his last book My Birds (Launceston, 1970) was published posthumously.