Thomas Nevin at the Canary and Cage Bird Show 1869

THOMAS NEVIN PRIZE CARDS photographs of model birds
WILLIAM HISSEY taxidermist

A collection of British birds
Item Number: NS1013/1/897
Start Date: 01 Jan 1880
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

Thomas Nevin’s photographs of model birds fixed to prize cards which were attached to the cages of winning entries at the Canary and Cage Bird show at the Hobart Alliance Rooms in May 1869, and again at the Tasmanian Poultry show at the Hobart Town Hall in August 1869, were deemed to be of high quality by both the press and the recipients of the prizes. None, it seems, of these photographs on prize cards – or indeed the stuffed birds which were Nevin’s models – has yet to surface in Australian public collections. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) – known as the Museum of the Royal Society in the 1860s – would be the likely repository, yet the management has yet to provide a comprehensive digitized catalogue displaying online any of their substantial holdings of bird and animal taxidermy, let alone photography from the colonial period (their attempts at an online catalogue, available until 2005 when it was taken down without explanation, was better than nothing, the present state of affairs). Thomas J. Nevin’s hundreds of photographs including fifty (50) or more stereographs of streetscapes and buildings; gardens, rivers and flooded landscapes; group outings with visiting VIPS; studio portraits of women; and the sixty (60) or more mugshots of “convicts” all dating from the late 1860s to the early 1880s and all held at the TMAG, were only accessible as copies to our T. J. Nevin project as descendants on payment of more than $5000 (five thousand Australian dollars) in 2015. Enjoy them and our generosity on this weblog while you can.

Taxidermy in Hobart 1860s
Taxidermist and hairdresser William Hissey (1805-1896) whose commercial premises were close to Thomas Nevin’s studio in Elizabeth Street, Hobart in 1868, was most likely the supplier of the model birds which Thomas Nevin photographed for the prize cards awarded at the Canary and Cage Bird show at the Alliance Rooms in Hobart in May 1869. William Hissey’s skills in taxidermy extended to native animals which he exhibited in Europe as well as parrots, parroquets, cockatoos, and wattle birds. The Acclimatization Society of Tasmania in turn received flora and fauna from England, some surviving or not, as in the case of the vixen which Mr Hissey stuffed and donated to the Royal Society’s Museum:

Mr Hissey, taxidermist and hairdresser
Source:The Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 – 1870) Wed 20 May 1868 Page 2


TAXIDERMY.—It is pleasant to notice any description of industry which is handily and well executed. Such is animal stuffing, as it is carried on by Mr. Hissey, of Elizabeth-street. In addition to his ordinary occupation of hair-dressing, Mr. Hissey devotes his leisure hours to the stuffing of birds and other animal, and the natural and life-like appearance he gives to them is very pleasing. He lately stuffed a vixen which was forwarded from England to the Acclimatization Society here, with the prospect of setting it at large with its mate into our scrub, but it appears it died soon after its arrival. This when stuffed had all the appearance of the animal in its natural state at home, and is to be seen among the other curiosities in the Museum of the Royal Society. The native birds of the colony under the manipulation of Mr. Hissey assume the appearance they are accustomed to make while they are abroad among our massive forest trees, or while they rustle through the bush; and perhaps in no part of the world are birds of richer or more beautiful plumage to be found than in Tasmania. The parrots, parroquets, cockatoos, the wattle birds, and the bronzed winged pigeons are not to be surpassed anywhere, and such of them as have been exhibited in the countries of Europe have been admired by all who beheld them. Some of our native animals when stuffed by Mr. Hissey are equally admirable.

Source:The Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 – 1870) Wed 20 May 1868 Page 2

A matter of weeks later, in July 1868, the press again praised William Hissey for his tasteful presentation of a stuffed parrot belonging to Church of England clergyman Robert Rowland Davies (1805-1880). Davies was a keen horticulturist who introduced many plants into Tasmania, who served as president of the Launceston Horticultural Society and who was a strong opponent of transportation. The oddity about this particular parrot, the reporter noted, was the bird’s vivid hues which, as a species, usually exhibited a “a common green sort”, hinting that the parrot’s plumage had been touched up with paint of various colours. An admirer of Rowland’s “brilliant sermons” was Jane Williams (1819-1885), possibly a relative of Florence Williams who may have been the artist responsible for prettying up the parrot, the same parrot which may have stood in as the model for her painting of a native bird in oil (see painting below):

Source: Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 – 1870), Saturday 25 July 1868, page 2


TAXIDERMY.—There is now on view at the establishment of Mr. Hissey, the taxidermist, of Elizabeth-street, a pretty specimen of the proprietor’s art, in the shape of a stuffed parrot. The bird is of the common green sort, but by some freak of nature presents scarcely any of the colour ordinarily belonging to the family of which it is a member. It exhibits instead a variety of hues, including brown, yellow, green, red, and black. It has been very tastefully set up by Mr. Hissey for its owner, Mr. Rowland Davies, and is one of the most pleasing of many pretty objects in the shop.

Source:Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 – 1870), Saturday 25 July 1868, page 2

Hobart taxidermist William Hissey acquired specimens either alive or shot, which he then eviscerated, preserved, and stuffed. It was up to local artists such as Florence Williams to render a realistic representation. Artists working initially from dead specimens would calibrate their measurements and render their colour with some painterly addition of foliage from the specimen’s usual habitat. This is an example by Florence Williams of a bird native to the area of New Town (near Hobart) where she lived, ca. 1873.

Description: Florence Williams. (British / Australia 1833 – 1915)
A native bird with mountain berries and native flora, backed by Mount Wellington oil on canvas
Signed with initials FW
Original gilt frame, the image 59.8 x 45.2cm.
Florence Williams was born in the UK and exhibited at the Royal Academy. Williams moved to Australia in 1863 and lived in New Town, Tasmania from 1873 – 1875, during which this work would have been painted.
From the estate of G. T. Stilwell Private Collection Auction 2015
Lot closed – Price Realized incl. BP:$93,000
ESTIMATE: $6,000 – $10,000

William Hissey (1805-1896) whose occupation was registered as hairdresser on his death was a resident of 195 Davey Street Hobart. He died of paralysis and senile decay, 81 years old, attended by Dr. Crowther, death registered on 17 May 1896.

Thomas Nevin and the model canaries 1869

The prize cards had on them a large and well-executed photograph by Mr Nevin, photographer, of this city, of what is called in England a model canary; and, accepting that model as the correct one, the Judges found several birds which came well up to the standard —

Image from page 270 of “The illustrated book of canaries and cage-birds, British and foreign” (1878)

Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 – 1870), Wednesday 5 May 1869, page 2


The first Tasmanian canary and other cage bird Show, which was held at the Alliance Rooms yesterday, under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor and the Hon. Mrs. Du Cane, was a decided success. No less than two hundred and twenty song birds were exhibited, including linnets, bullfinches, goldfinches, &c., besides an English thrush and blackbird, laughing jackasses, grosbeaks, and a great variety of parrots, paroquets, cockatoos, &3., &C. His Excellency and Mrs. Du Cane, accompanied by the Honorable Sir Richard and Lady Dry and Mr Chichester (Private Secretary), arrived punctually at twelve o’clock, and made a long and careful inspection of the exhibits, expressing much gratification at the large number and. excellence of the birds sent in. Besides the birds entered for competition, many were sent in for exhibition only — by the Hon. Mrs Du Cane and Messrs. Aldred, Johnson, Pope, Powell, Crowther, Petterd, Wellington, and others whose names were not attached to the cages. Mr Cearns also sent in a vase containing gold-fish. The prize cards had on them a large and well-executed photograph by Mr Nevin, photographer, of this city, of what is called in England a model canary; and, accepting that model as the correct one, the Judges found several birds which came well up to the standard — notably the variegated yellows of Mr Northcote, Mr Aldred, and Mr Walch’s buff, Mr Montgomerie’s yellow, and many others specified in the subjoined prize list. Much interest was taken in seven birds at the upper part of the room, which had been entered for a sweep of seven pounds, which was carried off as follows :—

First prize of £4, Mr Pope ; second prize of £2, Mr Montgomery ; third prize of £1, Mr McCawley. All were well shaped, well marked, and, we presume, good songsters, — to our mind, the great desideratum after alL ” Sacrifice colour to accomplishments. Nature seldom gives rare beauty and great accomplishments.” So said William Kidd, whose treatises on the canary are known, wherever canaries are kept or bred. But there were birds to satisfy the most fastidious, of good shape, good colour, and many with splendid notes. We scarcely remember to have seen a finer collection of birds, and most heartily congratulate the projectors of the exhibition on the success which has attended their efforts. We shall hope it will stimulate them, as well as the public generally, to introduce more of the song birds, denizens of the English fields and woodlands and brook sides. Such as the Nightingale, the Blackcap, the Sedge Reed, and Willow Warblers; the little Golden-crested Wren, always welcome for his sprightly ways, and many others.

The following were the awards of the judges:—

Adult yellow cock—1st, Mr Montgomery ; 2nd, Mr Lupton. Ditto hen—1st, Mr Northcoie; 2nd, Mr Montgomery. Young yellow cock—1st, Mr McCawley; 2nd. Mr Aldred. Ditto, hen—1st, Mr Walker ; 2nd, Mr McCawley.
Adult buff cock—1st, Mr McCawley; 2nd, Mr Northcott.
Young buff cock—1st, Mr McCawley; 2nd, Mr Aldred.
Young buff hen—1st, Mr Walch ; 2nd, Mr Walch.
Young variegated yellow cock—1st, Mr Aldred.
Young buff cock—1st, Mr Welsh.
Adult buff cock—1st, Mr Welsh.
Young hen, variegated yellow—1st, Mr Northcote.
Young hen, buff variegated—1st, Mr Aldred.

Cocks—1st, Mr McCawley ; 2nd, Mr Montgomery.
Hens—1st, Mr Petterd ; yellow. 1st, Mr Johnson; mealy variegated. 2nd, Mr Aldred.

Adult yrllow cock—1, Petterd; 2, Montgomery
Adult buff cock—2, Montgomery ; ditto hen—1, Walker.
Adult yellow variegated; cock—1, Petterd ; 1, Johnson (mealy).

Variegated—1,Berwick; 1,Troupe; adult—1,Berwick

1, Marsden; 1st prize for singing birds, Marsden.

Firetails—1, Evans ; goldfinch—1, Walker ; chaffinch—1, Montgomery ; Rockhampton finches— 1, Walker; budgeree-gars—1, Mrs Birchall ; skylark—1, Lady Fleming ; zebra filches—1, Marsden ; linnet—1, Montgomery; bullfinches — 1, ditto ; linnet-mule—1, ditto; goldfinch-male— 1 ditto; collection of birds, 1 ditto; cage of finches—I, Quinlan.

Rosella—1, Petterd ; cockatoo—1, Giblin ; king parrots—1, ditto ; African parrots —1, Graham ; 2, Walker ; English magpie—1, J. ditto ; Natiee magpie—l, Barnes; Norfolk Island parrots —1, A. Walker; jackass—1, Mrs Birchall; parrakeet—I, Quinlan; pair parrots—1, ditto; pair Adelaide parrots, 1 ditto ; 1 ditto—1, Birchall; cockatoo parrot—1, Walker; green parrot —1,
Powell; pair finches—1, M’Grath.

The Belgium Canary, awarded first and second prizes at the Tasmanian canary and other cage bird Exhibition attended by Thomas Nevin in May 1869, might have sounded like this one, that is, if its species-specific song hasn’t changed much since 1869:


The sensational Belgium Canary

The taxidermy specimens created by William Hissey and photographed by Thomas Nevin may well have ended up in glass cases like this one at the Museum by 1900 when librarian Alfred Taylor took this stereoscopic photograph:

A stereoscopic photograph of an interior display at the Museum.
TAYLOR, A.J. Librarian (1873-1922)
Item Number: PH30/1/2252
Start Date: 01 Jan 1900
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

Thomas Nevin at the Poultry Show August 1869
Four months later, in early August 1869, Thomas attended the annual exhibition of the TASMANIAN POULTRY SOCIETY, but this time he photographed engravings of model birds rather than the stuffed ones. His photographs were pasted to the prize cards awarded to exhibitors, If any of these unique photographs of poultry, pigeons etc produced by Thomas Nevin as prize-cards for the 1869 Tasmanian Poultry Show have at all survived, they appear not to be extant in Australian public collections.

Source:The Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 – 1870) Mon 9 Aug 1869 Page 2


TASMANIAN POULTRY SOCIETY—We may remind our readers that the annual exhibition of this society, under the patronage of his Excellency the Governor and his Worship the Mayor and Aldermen commences tomorrow, and will be continued the following day. A very large number of entries have been made, so that a first-rate exhibition may be expected, and to add to its attractiveness valuable gifts of poultry, pigeons, canaries, &c. will be distributed each evening. The prize cards, which we have been permitted to inspect are beautifully executed photographs of poultry, pigeons, &c., by Mr Nevin, of this city, from engravings of model birds.

What exactly had Thomas Nevin produced as photographs for these prize cards? The journalist at the Tasmanian Times had inspected them and described them as “beautifully executed photographs … from engravings of model birds“. So whose engravings had he photographed, and why had he not just photographed live birds in their cages? Of course, in an era when the capture of a living being required complete stillness from the sitter for several minutes, the constant jerks and twitches of birds would have rendered every attempt a total blur. Only dead birds give a pleasingly sharp image. Stuffed birds would have been a handy solution, if knowing the names of the winners in advance was possible, but that too was not the case. It is entirely possible that prior to the opening of show, Thomas Nevin was not informed of the names of particular prize winners from the many dozens of different classes of entrant, so he produced instead a series of cards from engravings of “model birds” – i.e. generic images – already published from earlier poultry shows, such as these prints from the Birmingham (UK) Poultry Show which appeared in the Illustrated London News on December 10th, 1859. Without a single example, however, the exact format and appearance of Nevin’s prize-cards for the 1869 Tasmanian Poultry Show will remain unknown.

BIRMINGHAM Poultry Show Prize Geese Ducks Pigeons Chickens
Antique wood engraved print taken from the Illustrated London News
December 10th.1859 1859
Sourced at eBay Nov. 4, 2017

Benchmarks 1860s-1870s
Other sources of engravings and lithographs of model birds were readily available to the family of Thomas Nevin and his fiancee Elizabeth Rachel Day by the 1860s. The Royal Society of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) had purchased Gould’s Birds of Europe, folio, 5 vols. and Gould’s Humming Birds, folio. Part I. in 1852, the year following Elizabeth’s uncle Captain Edward Goldsmith was elected to the Royal Society along with John Gould F. R. S. as Fellows, Corresponding Members, and Honorary Members in 1851. Offered at auction from the personal library of Dr Milligan by Mr Worley of Macquarie St, Hobart on 12 June 1860 was Swainson on Taxidermy. Another important volume on sale was “Gould’s Birds of Australia Parts 7, Imperial Folio, splendid coloured plates” advertised by The Hobart Town Daily Mercury Wednesday 6 June 1860.

Thomas Nevin’s father John Nevin found a wounded white goshawk at Kangaroo Valley which he showed at the Hobart offices of the Mercury, and which the newspaper duly reported on January 22, 1874. He had identified the bird from Gould’s HANDBOOK to THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA, Vol. 2, published in 1865 as the common White Hawk (Leucospiza Novae Hollandiae – see Addenda with plates below).


WHITE HAWK.- We were yesterday shown a fine specimen of this bird wounded in Kangaroo Valley by Mr. Nevin. The bird is the common White Hawk (Leucospiza Novae Hollandiae) of this colony and Australia, and is well figured in Gould’s large work on Australian Birds under the name of Astur Novae Hollandiae. Gould was formerly of opinion that the White Hawk was merely an albino variety of the New Holland Goshawk, but in his more recent work the “Handbook of Birds of Australia,” he has placed it under the genus Leucospiza. This hawk is by no means rare.

Source: Mercury 22 January 1874

Another report concerning native fauna, this time about Thomas Nevin’s emu, appeared in the Mercury of 22 July 1878. While employed as Keeper of the Hobart Town Hall, Macquarie Street, Thomas Nevin had kept an emu in the paddock at the back of the Town Hall which had strangled itself while trying to escape. Because it was reported as an “ornithological disaster” it may have been the Tasmanian Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae diemenensis, now extinct, one of the few remaining of the species and rare enough to warrant its presentation to the Museum of the Royal Society (TMAG). The many volumes of Gould’s books on Australian birds and animals were readily available to Thomas Nevin, his wife Elizabeth and family while resident at the Hobart Town Hall between 1876 and 1880 because the Tasmanian library’s collection of valuable books and international newspapers was housed in the same building Under Alfred Taylor’s watchful eye as librarian), along with the Municipal Police Office and Mayor’s Court on the ground floor, and police cells in the basement.


A young Emu the property of Mr. Nevin keeper of the Town Hall, came to an untimely end last week by being strangled in trying to force itself through the fence of the paddock in which it was kept at the rear of the Town Hall. The owner states his intention to present the Emu to the Royal Society’s Museum.

Thomas Nevin’s emu dies at the Town Hall,
The Mercury 22 July 1878

BLAKSTONS ILLUSTRATED GUIDE, published during the 1860s-1870s in several editions was another ready source of reference.

Title: The illustrated book of canaries and cage-birds, British and Foreign
Year: 1878 (1870s)
Authors: Blakston, W. A Swaysland, W Wiener, August F
Subjects: Canaries Cage birds
Publisher: London New York : Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.
Contributing Library: Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayr Library
Digitizing Sponsor: Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayr Library

Blakston et al, The Illustrated Book of Canaries and Cage Birds, published in 1878, online here or read it here at our link.

Blakston et al, The illustrated book of canaries and cage-birds, British and Foreign, p.369

Blakston et al, The illustrated book of canaries and cage-birds, British and Foreign, p.433

Blakston et al, The illustrated book of canaries and cage-birds, British and Foreign, p.443

Text on left: the Swift Parrot, Tasmania
Blakston et al, The illustrated book of canaries and cage-birds, British and Foreign, p.444

Addenda 1: Mr Nevin’s White Hawk
The following short article appeared in the Mercury, 22 January 1874. “Mr. Nevin” may have been the photographer Thomas Nevin, but it is more likely to have been Thomas’ father John Nevin, given the somewhat frequent mentions in the Mercury in these years to his encounters with the wildlife at Kangaroo Valley, Hobart. The wording is somewhat ambiguous: was the bird wounded by Mr Nevin? Or was it already wounded when he found it and subsequently showed it at the newspaper office?

Source:Mercury, 22 January 1874.


WHITE HAWK.- We were yesterday shown a fine specimen of this bird wounded in Kangaroo Valley by Mr. Nevin. The bird is the common White Hawk (Leucospiza Novae Hollandiae) of this colony and Australia, and is well figured in Gould’s large work on Australian Birds under the name of Astur Novae Hollandiae. Gould was formerly of opinion that the White Hawk was merely an albino variety of the New Holland Goshawk, but in his more recent work the “Handbook of Birds of Australia,” he has placed it under the genus Leucospiza. This hawk is by no means rare.

This first plate is Sp. 14 from Gould’s Birds of Australia (1848), mentioned in the article.

Gould's white goshawk

Sp. 14
Astur novae-hollandiae

Accipiter novaehollandiae
New Holland Goshawk
White Goshawk

This second plate is Sp. 15, mentioned in the Mercury article with reference to Gould’s HANDBOOK to THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA, Vol. 2, published in 1865. The full text is quoted below, from page 38 (see pages 37-39 for both):

Gould's white goshawk albino

Sp. 15
Astur novae-hollandiae(albino)

Accipiter novaehollandiae
White Goshawk
White Goshawk


HANDBOOK to THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA, Vol. 2, by John Gould 1865


White Goshawk.
Lacteous Eagle, Lath. Gen. Hist., vol. i. p. 216.
Astur Nova-Hullaiidia, Vig. & Horsf. in Linn. Trans., vol. xv. p. 179.
Astur albus, Jard. & Selb. 111. Orn., vol. i. pl. 1.
Falco Nova-Hollandia, Lath. Ind. Orn., vol. i. p. 16.
Fnlco albus, Shaw, in White’s Voy., pl. at p. 260.
Sparvius niveus, Vieill. Nouv. Diet. d’Hist. Nat., tom. x. p. 338.
Uiedalion candidum, Less. Traite d’Orn., p. 66.
Astur (Leucusjnza) Nov. ffoll., Kaup, Class. der Saug. und Vug., p. 119.
New Holland White Eagle, Lath. Gen. Syn., vol. i. p. 40.
Goo-loo-bee, Aborigines of New South Wales (Latham).
White Hawk of the Colonists.
Astur Novse-Hollandise, albino, Gould, Birds of Australia, fol., vol. i. pL15.
This species has perplexed ornithologists more, perhaps, than any other member of the Raptorial Order—the point at issue being whether it be distinct or merely an albino variety of the Astur Rail. I have seen both birds in a state of nature, and critically examined numerous examples after death with regard to size, admeasurement, &c.; Slid, except in colouring, I found no difference whatever between the beautiful snow- white bird and the grey-backed individuals so frequently shot in the brushes of the eastern parts of Australia. Mr. Ronald C. Gunn and the Rev. T. J. Ewing, of Tasmania, however, incline to believe them distinct, and, in support of this opinion, call attention to the fact that none but white birds have been found in that island; but while I admit this to be true, I do not fail to recollect that- the most lovely individual I ever shot in Tasmania had fiery-red irides; still it is only fair to state they were not pink as in albinoes, and that most frequently the irides are bright yellow; the colouring of those organs therefore is evidently inconstant, and not to be depended upon as a characteristic. We know little or nothing of the nidification of either of the birds: could it be ascertained that the grey-backed and the white individuals mate with each other, they should be considered as identical; but until then it will be better, perhaps, to keep them distinct. Cuvier has hazarded the opinion that the white bird is an albino variety which has become permanent, and that they have the power of perpetuating their white vesture.
I think Professor Kaup is right in proposing a new generic title for this form, differing as it does both in structure and habits from the true Asturs, of which the A. palumbariiis is the type.
The sexes differ very considerably in size, the male being scarcely more than two-thirds the size of the female.
The whole of the plumage pure white; cere and legs yellow ; bill and claws black.

[End of transcript.]

Addenda 2: Elizabeth Gould
External links:

Elizabeth Gould
Photographer: Unknown © Courtesy Private Collection.
Source: Australian Museum ELIZABETH GOULD (1804-1841)


The John Gould Memorial commemorates John Gould, his wife Elizabeth Coxen Gould and John Gilbert. It was erected in 2004 to mark the 200th anniversary of John Gould’s birth. The memorial was rededicated and a new plaque erected in April 2009 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the WA Gould League and 25 years at Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre which opened in 1984. John Gould was a zoologist, who was born in Lyme Regis, Dorset, England. It is probable that after some slight education he served with his father as a gardener, and thus became attracted to both plants and birds. At 23 he was appointed a taxidermist on the staff of the Zoological Society of London, and in 1829 he married Elizabeth Coxen, a talented artist. In 1831-32 he published in twenty monthly parts A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains, a volume notable for its eighty colour plates painted by Elizabeth Gould, and the precursor of a remarkable series of books on birds and mammals. In 1832 also he began the publication of The Birds of Europe, a work of five volumes that was completed in 1837. Gould turned his attention to the birds of Australia, and he issued in 1837-38 four parts of a so-called synopsis, with seventy-three plates by his wife, and immediately afterwards two more parts appeared. Very soon, however, he discontinued this work. He planned an expedition to Australia and he sailed in May 1838 with his wife and eldest son, aged 7, a young nephew, a man-servant and a maid-servant, and, most important, a zoological collector, John Gilbert. On 18 September 1838 in the Parsee the party landed in Hobart Town and at once Gould and Gilbert, accompanied at times by the servant James Benstead, began fieldwork in Van Diemen’s Land and adjacent islands. In the following months, while Gilbert was operating in Western Australia, Gould visited New South Wales, spent several weeks exploring the Murray scrubs in South Australia, mainly in the company of Charles Sturt, and also visited Kangaroo Island. He also spent some time in Sydney, where in March 1840 he issued a prospectus relating to his proposed publications on the birds of Australia, already published before he left England, as indicated by a reprint in the Sydney Herald, 9 September 1839. The Gould party left Sydney on 9 April 1840, and publication of The Birds of Australia began in London on 1 December 1840. The final parts, making a total of thirty-six, appeared in 1848. As with his earlier books, these were published with admirable colour plates; many of the drawings had been executed by Mrs Gould, but after her death in 1841 other artists were employed. The total number of colour plates in the eight volumes is 681, and the whole production is undoubtedly the greatest of Gould’s eighteen major works. Although grievously affected by his wife’s death, and left with the care of six young children, he continued to work diligently at research and publishing. Gilbert died in 1845, but Gould subsidized other collectors and also kept in touch with Sturt and other explorers and naturalists in Australia. In addition to numerous papers in scientific journals, he issued works on humming-birds, on the birds of Asia, and on the birds of Great Britain, all beautifully illustrated; and during 1845-63 he produced in three volumes, The Mammals of Australia, followed in 1865 by a two volume Handbook to the Birds of Australia. He was engaged in compiling The Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papuan Islands at the time of his death, and this work was completed by Dr R. B. Sharpe. During his lifetime Gould was honoured by numbers of scientific societies. Now his name persists as that of the “father” of bird study in Australia, and he is commemorated in a nation-wide institution, the Gould League of Bird Lovers.

Source: Monument Australia

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