march 2009                          June 2011   nat iona l libr a ry of austr a li a   libRarynaTional                    ...
treasuresnational library of australia                                         treasures gallery a new destinationNora Hey...
volume 3 Number 2june 2011                                                                                                ...
UnexpectedTreasuresO          ccasionally, the significance          of items in the National Library of          Australi...
Fang spent most of his adult life in the United                                                                           ...
his court. In line with Chinese thinking,                                                                leftChina was pla...
above     importance of the mother’s role was stressed       only wanted good books and that she could       彿說大報父母恩重經諺解  ...
is thought to have been influenced by fineexamples of Ottoman Turkish calligraphy.As is generally the case with such works...
A Picture Asks a Thousand Questions                                      Marie-Louise Ayres wonders whether a drawing of a...
Domville Taylor and Rolland dissolved their         have estimated that several hundredbusiness partnership in September 1...
above   find that the Commissioner for Crown Lands,       of Foot reached the area. We cannot be sure   thomas John Domvil...
1845 search for Leichhardt. His much more          Aboriginal men of south-west Queensland—‘finished’ drawing of a night c...
Nature’sBusiNessmaNShrewd or Stoic?       Roslyn Russell reassesses John Gould’s         reputation for ruthless ambition ...
conspicuous talent for determining and              and undermine his reputation for callousdescribing the characteristics...
forced to find paying       Anyone who has toiled over a letter (or more                                                  ...
business affairs but also to inspire loyalty in     feelings when he asked for a commenthis assistants. He was clearly a m...
An        enduring                   gift        by iaN WardeN       O                n 6 August 1856, just before she sai...
C o l l e C t i o N s f e at u r eleftAlbum of Photographs ofAustralian Goldfields by WalterWoodbury, Compiled by NellieBa...
T he F light of the        Budgerigar              Penny Olsen takes a look at the                  humble budgie and unco...
the Australian Museum: ‘The Black Fellows           Gould confided that he was expecting to fendof the Upper Hunter told m...
Australia added to numbers in Britain, where                                                                              ...
The cult of the budgerigar had taken            Exhibition in Berlin caused a sensationflight. There were societies, exhib...
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]
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NLA Magazine [issue Jun 2011]

  1. 1. march 2009 June 2011 nat iona l libr a ry of austr a li a libRarynaTional magazine magazine scary australian stories budgerigars abroad shipwrecked on wreck reef precious gems from the east and much more …
  2. 2. treasuresnational library of australia treasures gallery a new destinationNora Heysen (1911–2003) Self portrait c.1932 (detail) oil on canvas 65.5 x 51.5 cm Pictures Collection, nla.pic-vn4179750The National Library of Australia is building a permanent state-of-the-art treasures gallery.You will be able to view some of our finest national treasures — rare hand-drawn maps, rich holdings of personal papers,manuscripts and oral histories, publications in all forms, from the earliest hand-printed books to archived websites andpictures ranging from significant colonial paintings to striking photographs. To make a donation to the treasures gallery please contact the Development Office on (02) 62621141 or
  3. 3. volume 3 Number 2june 2011 the national library magazinethe aim of the quarterly The NationalLibrary Magazine is to inform the Australian co N t eN t scommunity about the National library ofAustralia’s collections and services, andits role as the information resource for thenation. copies are distributed through theAustralian library network to state, public andcommunity libraries and most libraries within Unexpectedtertiary-education institutions. copies are alsomade available to the library’s international Treasures from Asiaassociates, and state and federal governmentdepartments and parliamentarians. Additional Andrew Gosling presents some of thecopies of the magazine may be obtained bylibraries, public institutions and educational Library’s most precious gems from China,authorities. Individuals may receive copies bymail by becoming a member of the Friends of Korea and Persiathe National library of Australia.For further information about becoming aFriend, contact Friends of the National library 8 12of Australia. tel: (02) 6262 1698;email: or go further information about supporting thelibrary, please contact the Development office,National library of Australia, canberra Act2600. tel: (02) 6262 1141;email: find out more about the library and itscollections and services, go to or A Picture Asks a Nature’s Businessman:phone (02) 6262 1111. Thousand Questions Shrewd or Stoic?NatioNal library of australia CouNCil marie-louise Ayres wonders roslyn russell reassessesChair: The Hon. James Spigelman whether a drawing of a John Gould’s reputation forDeputy Chair: Prof. John Hay squatter reprisal in 1843 isMembers: Ms Jane Hemstritch, ruthless ambition Ms Mary Kostakidis, Mr Brian Long, an eyewitness account Mr Kevin McCann am, Dr Nonja Peters, Ms Deborah Thomas, Senator Russell Trood 18 22Director-General and Executive Member: Anne-Marie SchwirtlichseNior exeCutive staffDirector-General: Anne-Marie SchwirtlichAssistant Directors-General, by Division:Innovation and Resource Sharing: Warwick CathroCollections Management: Pam GatenbyAustralian Collections and Reader Services: Margy BurnInformation Technology: Mark Corbould The Flight of the Australian GhostPublic Programs and Executive Support: Budgerigar Stories Jasmine CameronCorporate Services: Gerry Linehan Penny olsen takes a look James Doig looks foreditorial/produCtioN at the humble budgie and Australian supernaturalCommissioning Editor: Susan Hall uncovers the world’s most fiction authors andEditor: Tina Mattei successfully marketed pet unearths their curious livesPhotographers: Sam Cooper, Craig Mackenzie 25 and Greg Power 28Picture Researcher: Felicity HarmeyDesigner: Kathryn WrightPrinted by Blue Star Print, Canberra© 2011 National Library of Australia andindividual contributorsISSN 1836-6147PP237008/00012Send magazine submission queries orproposals to: otherwise acknowledged, the photographs ‘Breakers ahead!’ Knowing the Past:in this magazine were taken by Digitisation and William Westall’s Record Interviews withPhotography, National library of Australia. the viewsexpressed in The National Library Magazine are those of a Reef Wreck Australian Historiansof the individual contributors and do not necessarily richard Westall looks at susan marsden delvesreflect the views of the editors or the publisher. every firsthand depictions of an early into the lives of recentreasonable effort has been made to contact relevantcopyright holders for illustrative material in this Australian shipwreck Australian historiansmagazine. Where this has not proved possible, thecopyright holders are invited to contact the publisher. regulars collections feature An Enduring Gift 16 friends 31 support us 32
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  5. 5. UnexpectedTreasuresO ccasionally, the significance of items in the National Library of Australia’s collection is unrealised Andrew Gosling presents some of the Library’s most precious gems from China, Korea and Persia from AsiA devoted the rest of his life to translating them. While the name Xuanzang may be unfamiliar to most Australians, he is known here and opposite Persian Qur’an, c.1850–1899 manuscripts collection ms 4949after their acquisition, only to be discovered around the world as a leading character in adecades later. This article concentrates on four famous Chinese novel which has been filmed below 大般若波羅蜜多經 / 玄奘奉詔譯such unexpected treasures: an ancient book and televised. In Monkey or Journey to the West, Da Ban Ruo Bo Luo Mi Duofrom China, twin silk maps of the world, also he became the monk Tripitaka, accompanied Jing (Greater Sutra of the Perfection of Transcendentin Chinese, an illustrated Korean text and an to India by his faithful companions Monkey, Wisdom), vol. 42, translated byilluminated Persian manuscript. Pigsy and Sandy. Xuanzang, 1162 In 2008, respected scholars confirmed the The Library’s copy of the Greater Sutra Asian collection ocrb 1818 4343authenticity of a Chinese volume dated 1162, dates from the Song dynasty (960–1279), onewhich made it by far the oldest printed book of China’s greatest literary and artistic eras,held by the Library. The experts included the and a golden age for publishing, especiallylate Professor Liu Ts’un-yan of the Australian of Buddhist texts. This particular version ofNational University, Professor Lee Cheuk Yin the Buddhist canon was produced infrom the National University of Singapore and Fuzhou, a majorrare book specialists from the National Library publishing centreof China. The text is a rare volume from a on the south-eastmajor 600-tome woodblock-printed set of the coast of China,Buddhist scriptures. Its Chinese title, Da Ban opposite theRuo Bo Luo Mi Duo Jing, may be translated as island ofGreater Sutra of the Perfection of Transcendent Taiwan.Wisdom. The Library holds volume 42.Another surviving volume of this1162 edition is known to exist at theUniversity of California, Los Angeles. The original Indian text in Sanskritwas translated into Chinese by the famousTang dynasty pilgrim monk Xuanzang.Between 629 and 645, he journeyed throughCentral Asia to India, bringing back hundredsof Buddhist works, including this one. He the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 3
  6. 6. Fang spent most of his adult life in the United States, but worked in Canberra as Curator of the Oriental Collection at the Australian National University from 1961 to 1963. In 1921 the Australian architect, artist and writer William Hardy Wilson (1881–1955) spent several months in China, where he took photographs, produced sketches of traditional buildings and sought bargains from antique dealers. He visited Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou (Canton) and Macao. His purchases included a twin-scroll map representing the eastern and western hemispheres. Each was about 1.6 metres in diameter and produced by woodblock printing on silk. They were badly cracked and dirty, with silk panels peeling from their paper backing. Wilson presented them to the Library in 1949. The gift was clearly significant, although at the time neither he nor the Library realised its true value. In 1970 the Library sent the scrolls to Japan, where Shinkichi Endo, a renowned restorer of national treasures, spent several years carefully lifting thousands of tiny silk fragments from the original paper backing and remounting them on new stiffened silk panels. His efforts are thought to have extended the map’s life by about 400 years. Meanwhile, experts from the Australian National University and overseas confirmed that it was a rare 1674 world map created in China by the Flemish Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest (1623–1688). This brilliant astronomer, mathematician and inventor spent 30 years in China. He rose to become a high official and close adviser to the Kangxi emperor, who ruled from 1661 to 1722. This above Earlier Chinese imprints, such as the Diamond was one of the most brilliant eras in the Qing, 大般若波羅蜜多經 / 玄奘奉詔譯 Sutra (868), the oldest dated printed book to or Manchu, dynasty (1644–1911). While Da Ban Ruo Bo Luo Mi Duo Jing (Greater Sutra of the survive anywhere in the world, were rolled up several black and white copies of Verbiest’s Perfection of Transcendent as scrolls. The Fuzhou edition was the first to 1674 map have survived, the original editionWisdom), vol. 42, translated by Xuanzang, 1162 adopt sutra binding, in which the scroll was in colour is extremely rare. Apart from the one Asian collection folded like a concertina for easy access to the held by the Library, a coloured version is also ocrb 1818 4343 text. This format was later employed widely for held in Kobe, Japan, and another in Seoul. the Buddhist scriptures. Verbiest’s work combined Chinese and The book is in fair condition for its great age, Western notions of cartography. The shape although it is incomplete, with parts of some of the continents was based on European pages missing. How it survived for 800 years mapping of the time, notably the Dutch remains a mystery. It was eventually found by cartographers Blaeu and Ortelius. Australia the distinguished historian and bibliographer was depicted with the islands of New Guinea Chaoying Fang (1908–1985), whose Chinese seal and Tasmania attached to it. Verbiest’s map appears in red ink at the beginning and end of was the first in China to show the newly the text. The Library acquired this extraordinary charted coasts of Australia and New Zealand. treasure in 1962 together with the rest of Verbiest clearly aimed to impress a local Fang’s major book collection. Born in China, audience, possibly the emperor himself or4::
  7. 7. his court. In line with Chinese thinking, leftChina was placed at the centre of the map, Harold cazneaux (1878–1953) William Hardy Wilson atsymbolising its position as the political and Purulia, Warrawee, New Southcultural heart of the world, surrounded by Wales (4) 1921 b&w photograph; 12.7 x 10.1 cmtributary states. Geographical information Pictures collectionin Chinese was contained within text panels. nla.pic-vn4398044Foreign placenames were all in Chinese,combining translated and phonetic elements. below Ferdinand verbiestFor instance, New Guinea was identified by (1623–1688)the Chinese for ‘New’ followed by Chinese World Map c.1674 handpainted woodblock oncharacters representing the sounds for silk; 176.0 x 263.0 cm (each‘Guinea’. Hand-coloured pictures depicted scroll)animals and birds considered exotic in China. Hardy Wilson collection maps collectionSome of the illustrations were fanciful, such the blue giraffe in Antarctica and a bird ofparadise placed in the middle of Australia. Among the rare titles acquired in Korea bythe Australian missionary, translator and bookcollector Jessie McLaren (1883–1968) there isan extremely unusual and possibly unique 1766edition of an intriguing work. In Korean it is ˘ ˘ ˘known as Puls˘ Taebo Pumo Unjunggyong Onhae ol texts in China, as well as in other parts of Eastor Sutra on the Profound Kindness of Parents. Asia, such as Korea.From its title the book appears to be a In fact, the book is not wholly Buddhist.Buddhist text about honouring parents. This It combines Confucian and Buddhist idealsis true but is not the whole story. Even though of filial piety. The importance of honouringit purports to use Buddha’s words, the book and respecting parents, especially fathers,does not originate from India but appears lay at the core of Confucianism. In Chineseto have been compiled in seventh-century Buddhist texts, such as this one, sons wereTang dynasty China. It is, therefore, called urged to feel indebted to both parents for thean apocryphal Buddhist sutra. Nevertheless many kindnesses received in childhood and toit became one of the most famous religious repay such debts by being good Buddhists. The the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 5
  8. 8. above importance of the mother’s role was stressed only wanted good books and that she could 彿說大報父母恩重經諺解 much more than in Confucianism. drive a hard bargain. Puls˘ l Taebo Pumo o ˘ o ˘ Unjunggy˘ ng Onhae (Sutra The work was popular in Korea throughout Another treasure that the staff of the on the Profound Kindness of the Choson dynasty (1392–1910). While some Library’s Manuscripts Collection drew to my Parents), vol. 42, 1766 mclaren–Human collection editions were published solely in the classical attention was a small handwritten Persian Asian collection Chinese used by the ruling elite, others such as Qur’an (Koran), bound in floral-patterned oKm No. 9 this one also contained text in Korean script to lacquer covers. The Qur’an is Islam’s holy make them accessible to a wider public. Lively book. Muslims believe that Allah’s word woodblock illustrations were also included was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad to attract attention. The book was translated (c.570–c.632), the founder of Islam, over a and re-translated into Korean throughout period of 20 years. The sacred words were later the country over several centuries, with recorded in Arabic as the Qur’an. It contains illustrations and variations in the text. passages on the worship of one god, Allah, on In 1984 Jessie McLaren’s daughter, Rachel death and the afterlife, on earlier messengers Human (1923–2007), presented the sutra of God, such as Moses and Jesus, and on other and her mother’s other Korean books to the religious regulations. Library. The sutra’s extreme rarity was only The Persian manuscript of the Qur’an recognised in 2006, when Dr Ross King, an was acquired by the Library in 1975. It had expert on Korean language, established that belonged to Carl Georg von Brandenstein it is the only known example of this title (1909–2005). As a young scholar, this German produced in Hoeryong, in the far north-east aristocrat had studied the Hittites of ancient of Korea, close to the Chinese border. This Turkey. In 1941 he and his family were in was a remote backwater, where little printing Persia, now known as Iran. Taken captive by occurred. The book contains distinct regional the British, he was sent to internment camps characteristics of the type of Korean spoken in in South Australia and later in Victoria. After the border region. Whoever carved its wooden the war much of his life was spent in Western printing blocks seems to have been only semi- Australia, where he carried out pioneering literate in Korean and made odd errors in research on Indigenous languages. carving the script. The British Library was consulted to find We do not know how McLaren discovered out more about this Qur’an. This revealed that this particular gem. In March 2007 her the manuscript was probably created during daughter revealed that Jessie bought many old the mid- to late Qajar dynasty, which ruled Korean publications from travelling salesmen, Persia from 1794 to 1925. The work combines who, aware of her collecting interests, visited Arabic calligraphy, opening pages illuminated her home in Seoul. They soon learned that she in blue and gold, and a colour portrait. Its style6::
  9. 9. is thought to have been influenced by fineexamples of Ottoman Turkish calligraphy.As is generally the case with such works,the writer’s name is unknown. Themanuscript contains the complete Qur’anin Arabic. On the final page there is aprayer for piety, health and wellbeing. The experts commented that it isthe colour painting which makes thiswork special. It shows Ali and his sons,Hasan and Husayn, who are reveredby Shia Muslims as the first threeImams in the line of succession fromthe Prophet Muhammad. Ali was theProphet’s cousin and husband of his this pagedaughter Fatima. Succession through Persian Qur’an, c.1850–1899 manuscripts collectionthe Prophet’s family lies at the heart of ms 4949the Shia tradition. While they constitutea minority within Islam as a whole,Shia Muslims are predominant in Iranand Iraq. The figures shown onthe back of the image are Ali’sfather, Abu Talib, and Bilal,the Ethiopian, one of the firstMuslim converts and a closecompanion of the Prophet.Paintings of this kind becamepopular during the Qajardynasty but it is rare, if notunique, for a Qur’an to containan image of Ali andhis sons. These four examples, andother works in the AsianCollection, reveal the breadthand beauty of the Library’sresources on the region’s writingcultures. The Library houses Australia’sstrongest documentary collections aboutAsia, in particular the countries of Eastand South-East Asia. The main focus ofcollecting has been the modern period butearlier history and traditional cultures have byno means been neglected.ANDreW GoslING, the library’s former chieflibrarian, Asian collection, is the author of arecent library publication, Asian Treasures: Gems ofthe Written Word, which describes 40 of the mostprecious pieces in the collection, selected on thetheme of Asian writing, books and printing the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 7
  10. 10. A Picture Asks a Thousand Questions Marie-Louise Ayres wonders whether a drawing of a squatter reprisal in 1843 is an eyewitness account I background f a picture tells a thousand words, early life but can assume it was comfortable. thomas John Domville taylor then it can also raise a thousand questions. He probably grew up in the ancestral home, (c.1817–1889)The Blacks who Robbed the Drays And when the picture in question has Lymm Hall in Lymm, Cheshire, built by the on the Main Range of Mountains been tucked away inside an innocent looking Domvilles in the early seventeenth century at (detail) 1843 pencil; 10.5 x 29.2 cm nineteenth-century woman’s scrapbook, the the centre of a wealthy estate. Pictures collection gap between what we know and what we can We do not know exactly when Domville nla.pic-vn4970952 only surmise is tantalising indeed. Taylor came to Australia or why. By the early below In October 2010, the National Library of 1840s, when he would have been in his early thomas John Domville taylor Australia acquired through an Australian twenties, he was the co-owner (with a Dr (c.1817–1889) auction house a small and miscellaneous John Rolland) of Tummaville (an obvious Tummaville on the CondamineRiver, Darling Downs, Queensland collection of family documents. The collection corruption of ‘Domville’) station in the 1844 includes an album containing more than 100 Darling Downs, Queensland. Among the pencil; 12.5 x 19.4 cm nineteenth-century carte-de-visite photographs six little drawings in Ffoulkes’ book are two Pictures collection nla.pic-vn4970907 of an obviously well-to-do English family, and charming scenes of Tummaville. The first, a scrapbook belonging to Patty Ffoulkes. The inscribed ‘Tummaville—Darling Downs, latter item is a ‘commonplace’ book kept by a A New South Wales Squatter’s first arrival young lady in the first half of the 1800s, filled on his Station after a journey of 3 mos’ is with copies of flowery poems and pictures cut undated but we know that Domville Taylor from books and journals. Pasted in the album lived at Tummaville as early as October 1841. are six small pencil drawings by Ffoulkes’ There is a tent, a couple of bark huts, a pot stepson, Thomas John Domville Taylor. cooking on a stove, several sets of drawers Domville Taylor was born in Cheshire or trousers hanging from a line and two around 1817, the son of Reverend Mascie European figures (are they Domville Taylor Domville Taylor. His mother died in 1826, and Dr Rolland?) sitting on logs, smoking and after which Domville Taylor’s father remarried. reading. Mountains loom in the background. We know very little of Domville Taylor’s The second drawing, dated 1844 and inscribed ‘Tummaville Station on the Condamine River, Darling Downs, N.S. Wales’, shows a scene transformed. There are now four houses, with verandahs, smoking chimneys and neat fences. The looming mountains have disappeared and a flowing river and lush grass suggest bucolic prosperity. Advertisements in The Sydney Morning Herald record that 8::
  11. 11. Domville Taylor and Rolland dissolved their have estimated that several hundredbusiness partnership in September 1844. Aboriginal people may have diedDomville Taylor stayed in the Downs for in the region during the 1840s toat least another year. He departed from the 1860s.nearby Jimbour Station in August 1845, From late 1842, The Sydneyreturning there in late September with a party Morning Herald regularly reportssearching for the doomed explorer Ludwig on how ‘troublesome’ the ‘blacks’Leichhardt. Domville Taylor’s journal of the on the Downs are and how unsafetrip, including a sketch map of the party’s it is to travel unless in companyroute and descriptions of encounters with and well armed. By August 1843,Indigenous people, is held in private hands but the Herald ’s correspondent reportswas microfilmed by the State Library of New that another white shepherd hasSouth Wales’ Mitchell Library in the 1970s. been murdered and that ‘the whole It seems likely that Domville Taylor of the settlers on the Downs arereturned to Britain shortly after the death of in a complete state of excitement,his father in 1845. We know little about his compelled to keep their servantslife after his return, except that it seems to constantly armed and on the alerthave been prosperous. He died in Brighton for fear of an attack, so daringin September 1889, leaving a considerable have the blacks become’.personal estate of just over £19 000. His name That ‘state of excitement’ reflects a systematic aboveremains inscribed on the Australian landscape. attempt to harry the white settlers of the southwell brothers, Photographers royalThe small town of Tummaville is built on the Downs by more than 100 Barunggahm, Portrait of Thomas Domvillesite of his original station, on the banks of the Jarowair, Giabal and Keinjan men who banded Taylor 1862 carte-de-visite mount; 8.5 x 5.5 cmCondamine River. Mount Domville, named together under the leadership of Multuggerah. Pictures collectionby C.P. Hodgson, the leader of the Leichhardt In effect, the group declared war on the nla.pic-vn4982302search party, is 50 kilometres south-west of Europeans, using intermediary ‘Tinker’ belowthe town. Campbell to deliver a warning that they ‘News from the Interior— Domville Taylor arrived in the Downs at planned to attack stations and supply routes, moreton bay’, The Sydneya critical moment in the history of European harassing several settled properties in the Morning Herald, 6 July 1843 Newspapers and microformsand Aboriginal contact. Allan Cunningham middle months of 1843. By August, they had collectionreached the Downs in 1827, the first European developed a strategic and logical plan to blockto do so, and most historians agree that the main supply route from Moretonlocal Aboriginal people did not immediately Bay to the Downs. By blockingperceive the small number of white visitors supply, they believed, they could forceas a major threat. However, European the white settlers to quit the area.settlement began in earnest in 1840 and, by Multuggerah’s plan was initially1841, when Domville Taylor was certainly in successful. On 12 September, his menresidence at Tummaville, the area’s original ambushed three drays, attended by 18inhabitants found that their access to food men, on the only road from Moretonand water was severely affected by pastoral Bay to the Downs. At the ambushactivity. From 1842 to 1843, tension built site on the Helidon Run (somebetween Aboriginal people and European 20 kilometres east of the modernsettlers. Aboriginal attacks on white settlers Toowoomba, then named ‘Drayton’,increased, with around two dozen white and 100 kilometres north-east ofdeaths, including the murder of an infant girl, Tummaville), the road was barelyrecorded by the press and in personal accounts. wide enough for bullocks and draysThere are no press records of Aboriginal to pass. Confronted by a determineddeaths but, consulting diaries and letters, and organised group of Multuggerah’sspecialist historians of the Darling Downs warriors, the Europeans retreated to the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 9
  12. 12. above find that the Commissioner for Crown Lands, of Foot reached the area. We cannot be sure thomas John Domville taylor Dr Stephen Simpson, his police and a group whether Domville Taylor witnessed the attack, (c.1817–1889)The Blacks who Robbed the Drays of some 20 squatters had gathered nearby to participated in it or drew the scene after hearing on the Main Range of Mountains discuss their response to the repeated attacks of it from other squatters. There are, however, (detail) 1843 pencil; 10.5 x 29.2 cm on their stations by organised groups of strong stylistic hints that suggest the immediacy Pictures collection Aboriginal men. This combined party was also of a ‘there and then’ sketch, and other written nla.pic-vn4970952 repulsed by Multuggerah’s group, with serious records indicate that he was involved in at least injuries but no deaths among the squatters, in one other, slightly earlier conflict with a large what is known as the Battle of One Tree Hill. group of Aboriginal people. Following this defeat, Commissioner In the drawing, 11 European men fire on Simpson rode to Brisbane to seek assistance, a group of 25 Aboriginal men, women and returning on 19 September with a group of children. Three of the Aboriginal people 12 men from the 99th Regiment of Foot. appear to have been shot. The drawing has a The regiment was dispatched to deal with great sense of immediacy and movement, with the retreating Aboriginal people, who guns firing, people running and the unlucky were eventually cornered in a camp in the victims of gunshots falling or flying through Rosewood Scrub on 10 October. At least the air. Everything is focused on the action. two of the Aboriginal men, believed to have There is no sky, scrub is merely sketched in murdered the young white girl some months the background and the foreground contains earlier, were killed. nothing but firing squatters, fleeing Aboriginal The squatters did not leave their protection people, a humpy and a tree. And yet there solely in the hands of the regiment. Letters is fine detail. One man carries two spears, and diaries from the period suggest that small another carries a boomerang. To the left of the parties of squatters independently hunted and drawing, a mother flees with one baby on her attacked Aboriginal groups from the time of back, while a small child runs behind. ‘One Tree Hill’ to at least the end of 1843. Close examination shows that most of the Conflict continued for another decade, albeit figures have been sketched in from postural at a lower volume. stick figures, with dots indicating the One incident in this troubled history is location of the heads, joints, hands and feet depicted in a small but compelling drawing of the fleeing figures. Many of the dots and inscribed ‘The Blacks who robbed the drays sketched limbs are drawn with considerable on the Main Range of Mountains—attacked force, suggesting some urgency on the part by a party of Darling Downs Squatters after of the artist. This use of postural dots is also following them for a week. D.T. 1843’. The apparent in Domville Taylor’s rough sketches drawing depicts a squatter reprisal around 19 of Boombiburra, his ‘Aboriginal servant in September 1843, following the Battle of One Australia’, and Mount Domville, the latter Tree Hill, the same time the 99th Regiment presumably drawn in the field during the 10::
  13. 13. 1845 search for Leichhardt. His much more Aboriginal men of south-west Queensland—‘finished’ drawing of a night corroboree, which can be confidently identified as being anDomville Taylor inscribes as having been eyewitness account.‘taken from life’, shows that these postural The Domville Taylor drawing is distinctdots were used to indicate the positions of the from these examples, which all dramatise thehands, arms and knees of the moving dancers. moments of tension before guns are fired orThey are still visible despite later shading to spears are thrown. In Hodgkinson’s work,convey the impression of firelight flickering a large group of Aboriginal men advanceson bodies. These stylistic similarities strongly on a small group of Europeans behind asuggest that Domville Taylor used postural palisade, but the battle has not yet begun.dots and quick lines to sketch ‘from life’. The other images highlight the sense of threatThey are not apparent in his more complete to Europeans by showing quite large groupsTummaville landscapes, presumably drawn at of Aboriginal warriors armed with spearssome leisure. against smaller groups of white settlers armed It is hard to imagine any scenario in which with guns. The Domville Taylor drawing, byDomville Taylor heard a tale of such an attack contrast, depicts the moments after firing has(or an amalgam of tales) and then proceeded commenced. While the Aboriginal group ofto draw a visual record of the story. It is 25 is much larger than the European group ofharder still to imagine him including the 11, numbers are no defence against guns.detail of a mother and children fleeing from At this stage, with no helpful explanatorybullets, unless he witnessed the scene himself. letters or diaries from Domville Taylor, itDomville Taylor’s documented presence in is impossible to prove beyond doubt thatthe Darling Downs during these troubled the drawing is a unique eyewitness accountyears, his role as a squatter, together with of a specific event or to know where thethe liveliness, detail and ‘presence’ of the attack occurred, who was involved or howdrawing strongly suggests that it is indeed an many finally fell to the gun. Even with theseeyewitness account. silences, the drawing speaks with great power The issue of whether the drawing is an and poignancy of the inevitable tragedy ofeyewitness account is important. Only a few dispossession unfolding across the Downs.visual images of conflict between Europeansand Aboriginal people are held in Australianlibraries and only one of these—the Library’s Dr mArIe-louIse Ayres is the senior curator ofWilliam Oswald Hodgkinson watercolour of Pictures and manuscripts at the National librarya conflict at ‘Bulla’ between members of the of AustraliaBurke and Wills expedition’s supply party and left William oswald Hodgkinson (1835–1900) Bulla, Queensland 1861 in ‘Album of miss eliza younghusband, south Australia, 1856–1865’ watercolour; 21.8 x 13.4 cm Pictures collection nla.pic-vn4189024-s46 the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 11
  14. 14. Nature’sBusiNessmaNShrewd or Stoic? Roslyn Russell reassesses John Gould’s reputation for ruthless ambition J ohn gould was born in lyme regis, Devon, on 14 September 1804, the son of a gardener and his wife. From this humble beginning, he embarked on a remarkable career in ornithology, and natural science generally, achieving enduring renown as the ‘father of Australian ornithology’. Gould’s identification of finches from the Galapagos Islands provided Charles Darwin with a key to unlocking the mystery of the origin of species. In 1838 Gould and his talented wife, Elizabeth, travelled to the far-flung colony of Van Diemen’s Land; from there, he and his natural history collectors travelled around mainland Australia, several of them paying with their lives for their commitment to collecting and exploration. Gould’s artists depicted in exquisite lithographs, accompanied by Gould’s expert commentary, the birds (including the budgerigar, see following article) and mammals of Australia and of other parts of the world. Gould’s ability as a highly capable coordinator of the process of producing ornithological prints and the accompanying expert commentary, coupled with his taxidermy business, made him a rich man and elevated him far above the social setting into which he was born. The story of his remarkable life, his practical skills, his driving energy and shrewd business judgment, his12::
  15. 15. conspicuous talent for determining and and undermine his reputation for callousdescribing the characteristics of birds and indifference.animals, his travels to locate, classify and That Gould was a driven man, though,illustrate new species, and his interactions with is clear. In common with many self-madethose with whom he worked and did business men, he had scant patience with those whohave been told many times. were less focused on achievement. One of Yet, John Gould has not always had a good the first people to complain of Gould’s curtpress. While he has had effective champions, manner and single-mindedness was Edwardsuch as Gordon Sauer, who collected and Lear, one of his earliest illustrators.published all his correspondence, Ann Lear, better known as the authorDatta, who collaborated with Sauer on the of nonsense verse, was epileptic andGould letters and has also written of Gould’s depressive, the polar opposite of the bluff,Australian experience, and his own great- energetic Gould. Born to a bankruptedgreat-granddaughter Maureen Lambourne, London stockbroker, Lear was the opposite page top unknown photographerthe liveliest biography of Gould, Isabella twentieth child in a family of 21. Forced to Portrait of OrnithologistTree’s The Bird Man: The Extraordinary Story of earn his living in his mid-teens, Lear turned John Gould c.1850John Gould (1991), is critical of aspects of his to his talent for illustration and, at the age of b&w photograph; 15.0 x 12.2 cm Pictures collectionpersonality and treatment of other people. only 18, embarked on an ambitious project—to nla.pic-vn3800026 The Business of Nature: John Gould and illustrate all the species of the parrot family,Australia, published by the National Library of the Psittacidae. Not unexpectedly, given his opposite page bottom calyptorhynchus macrorhynchusAustralia, takes account of these viewpoints on youth and temperament, Lear was a poor (Great-billed Black Cockatoo) inGould—the man and the businessman—and businessman. His first two published folios in The Birds of Australia, vol. 5, byshows that contemporary verdicts on Gould’s November 1830, nevertheless, brought him John Gould, 1848 Australian rare books collectionpersonality, proffered as evidence that he instant recognition as an ornithological artist the physical and emotional needs of and he was nominated as an associate to the 5-s21others, may have done him a disservice. Gould Linnean Society.might not have appeared to possess much Producing fine works of natural history abovecapacity for empathy but there is evidence illustration required the assistance of a unknown artist Edward Lear 1830sthat what seemed to be emotional indifference number of other people and trades, and silhouette on paperwas in fact a stoic response to adversity and the coordinating skills to keep the process courtesy National Portrait Gallery, londontragedy by a man of the Victorian age. Gould on track. Lear found that extracting fromwas not a demonstrative character but some subscribers the money needed to publish the below leftof his written words convey his warmer side next set of plates was so difficult that he was John Gould (1804–1881) euphema splendida 1846 pencil and crayon on paper 53.0 x 37.5 cm Pictures collection nla.pic-an9994496 below right euphema splendida (Splendid Grass Parakeet) in The Birds of Australia, vol. 5, by John Gould, 1848 Australian rare books collection 5-s90 the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 13
  16. 16. forced to find paying Anyone who has toiled over a letter (or more work elsewhere. In 1831 likely these days, an email) in an attempt to he began to work with maintain a relationship or to share views with John and Elizabeth another person and who has received one line Gould on The Birds in reply, will sympathise with Lear. But Gould of Europe, and taught was a busy man and not a natural writer Elizabeth the finer outside his area of specialisation. points of lithographic Thirty years after he worked with Gould, illustration. Lear delivered a verdict that clearly stemmed Lear found Gould a from his disappointment that their relationship relentless taskmaster had not survived time and distance, and which and, when the has contributed to Gould’s reputation as an opportunity arose in unsympathetic character: ‘A more singularly 1832 to take another offensive mannered man than G. hardly can position, he did so. be: but the queer fellow means well, tho’s more He nevertheless of an Egotist than can be described’. After finished his quota for Gould’s death Lear called him The Birds of Europe and, in 1833, agreed a harsh and violent man … ever the same to work on another persevering hardworking toiler in his own Gould ornithological (ornithological) line—but ever as unfeeling publication, contributing for those about him. In the earliest phase of ten plates to Monograph his bird drawing he owed everything to his of the Ramphistidae, or excellent wife, & to myself—without whose Family of Toucans. help in drawing he had done nothing. above Lear’s artistic interests then took a different edward lear (1812–1888) turn: he travelled to Ireland in 1835 and This is one view of Gould that has endured Palaeornis novae-hollandiae, New Holland Parrakeet, in the discovered the satisfaction of landscape but other voices tell a different story. It is Possession of the Right Hon. the painting. A year later, his eyesight began difficult to imagine that, had Gould been as Countess of Mountcharles 1830s lithograph; 52.7 x 36.6 cm to fail, ruling out the close work required unattractive a personality as Lear suggested, Pictures collection for natural history illustration. He tried to he could have achieved so much. The complex nla.pic-an11135255 maintain his relationship with Gould by process of maintaining the uninterrupted below letter but was always disappointed by Gould’s flow of lithographs and text to subscribers cygnus atratus (Black Swan) in perfunctory responses to his effusive missives. required not only the ability to coordinate his The Birds of Australia, vol. 7, by John Gould, 1848Australian rare books collection 14::
  17. 17. business affairs but also to inspire loyalty in feelings when he asked for a commenthis assistants. He was clearly a man who was from a subscriber on Elizabeth’sable to motivate others with his vision, starting contribution to Part 5 of Thewith his wife. Birds of Australia, showing his Elizabeth Gould was the next person keen desire to have her workthat Gould was thought to have treated less praised: ‘I shall be glad ofthan considerately. Born Elizabeth Coxen at a line saying how you likeRamsgate in the same year as her husband, the present part; almostshe was rescued by marriage from the the last of the work ofisolation and indeterminate social status of a my Dear and never to begoverness. After she married John Gould in forgotten partner’.January 1829, Elizabeth found that, despite Three years later, whenher married status and frequent childbearing, Part 15 of The Birds ofshe was expected to work, albeit at an Australia was published,occupation that did not violate the code of Gould paid Elizabeth thegentility—drawing birds on lithographic stone highest tribute when heto her husband’s directions, a task to which named the multicolouredshe brought considerable skill and dedication. Gouldian Finch after her.Instead of enduring soul-destroying boredom, He wrote:she travelled with her husband to Europe andto Australia and met with a wide range of It is therefore with feelings ofpeople and situations. She and John appeared no ordinary nature that I haveto the outside world to be ‘soulmates’, as they ventured to dedicate this newworked together in their business and raised a and lovely bird to the memory ofgrowing family. her, who in addition to being a most Gould has been accused of insufficiently affectionate wife, for a number of yearsacknowledging Elizabeth’s contribution to laboured so hard and so zealously assistedhis early success in ornithological illustration. me with her pencil in my various works, aboveHis restrained comments to correspondents but who, after having made a circuit of the tanysiptera sylvia (White-tailed Tanysiptera) in The Birds ofafter Elizabeth’s untimely death in 1841 globe with me, and braved many dangers Australia, supplement, by Johnhave been interpreted as signifying his lack with a courage only equalled by her virtues, Gould, 1869 Australian rare books collectionof emotion. Nevertheless, he did express his and while cheerfully engaged in illustrating the present work, was by the Divine will 5-s21 of her Maker suddenly called from this to a left brighter and better world; and I feel assured Mrs John Gould in dedicating this bird to the memory of from The Emu, vol. 60, 1960 Mrs. Gould, I shall have the full sanction b&w reproduction 19.4 x 14.0 cm of all who were personally acquainted with Pictures collection her, as well as those who only know her by nla.pic-vn3799791 her delicate works as an artist. Gould may have been a difficult man to deal with at times but few have left behind so eloquent and abiding a tribute. It is fitting that the badge of the Gould League, which today celebrates the lives of both John and Elizabeth Gould, should feature a Gouldian Finch, the last gesture of gratitude from a husband to his wife. roslyN russell is a canberra historian and author of The Business of Nature: John Gould and Australia, published by the National library of Australia in April 2011 the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 15
  18. 18. An enduring gift by iaN WardeN O n 6 August 1856, just before she sailed from album mark the exciting arrival of photography, with its san Francisco to Hong Kong aboard the elegant special power to record the truth. ‘I hate cameras. they and built-for-speed extreme clipper Young America, are so much more sure about everything than I am,’ John five-year-old Nellie babcock was given a farewell present. steinbeck thought. Woodbury’s camera, much more sure It was a handsome black and gilt Gift Album, which the of everything than s.t. Gill and his paintbrushes could National library of Australia recently acquired from an have been, has left us images full of factual detail about antiquarian dealer in the united states. the goldfields. For example, to take a magnifying glass to the album was, of course, empty when Nellie received it. the small image Gold Digging In Australia, 1856 is to find a today it contains photographs of great rarity and importance wealth of detail about the posed miners—their clothes, their that were added during the voyage. they are 11 albumen tools, their methods and the dry, bare bush that they are prints by the young english photographer Walter Woodbury turning into a landscape of shafts and heaps. which capture places and people at and around the victorian How did it come to pass that in August 1856 Nellie gold diggings near beechworth. the collection includes what babcock, a young child, went to live onboard a ship during may be the first close-up photograph of men at work on the a long, long voyage? the explanation lies with her father, victorian goldfields. David shearman babcock, the captain of the dashing and there is an abundance of drawn and painted pictures of expensive clipper, who liked to take his family with him on the victorian goldfields of the 1850s, such as the library’s his voyages. many works by s.t. Gill. the 1856 photographs in Nellie’s Finished in 1853, the Young America had cost $140 000 to build and went on to set many speed records. Pausing at Hong Kong and then at some other exotic destinations, the ship eventually sprinted to melbourne, arriving on 11 April 1857. on 27 April she bustled away from melbourne and skimmed off towards batavia (Jakarta), with cargo and just two paying passengers. one of the passengers was the 22-year-old english photographer, Woodbury. At some point in the voyage and getting along famously with the seafaring family of babcocks (in a letter to his mother, Woodbury observed: ‘the captain, who has his wife and family on board, is a very gentlemanly person and his wife a16::
  19. 19. C o l l e C t i o N s f e at u r eleftAlbum of Photographs ofAustralian Goldfields by WalterWoodbury, Compiled by NellieBabcock 1856–1861album; 23.7 x 19.7 x 2.3 cmPictures collectionnla.pic-vn4777768below leftWalter Woodbury (1834–1885)Five Unidentified Men Workinga Gold Mine near Beechworth,Victoria 1856sepia-toned print; 8.6 x 10.8 cmPictures collectionnla.pic-vn4777768-s11rightWalter Woodbury (1834–1885)Carts in Front of the StarHotel, Ford Street, Beechworth,Victoria 1856sepia-toned print; 8.4 x 12.8 cmPictures collectionnla.pic-vn4777768-s8very pleasant lady’), he seems to have given Nellie the nothing quite compares with holding the exquisite, historyphotographs that now adorn the album. impregnated album in one’s cotton-gloved hands and Woodbury had been lured from england to Australia thinking of the little hands that first held it. turning theby gold fever but, when he arrived in victoria in october pages one finds, as well as the photographs, some poignant1852, the search for gold was in the doldrums. And so surprises, such as some ancient pressed autumn leaves.he turned his hobby of photography into a profession, then there is the declaration, written by an admirer whileleaving melbourne in 1856 to set up his own studios the Young America, this greyhound of the sea, was anchoredin beechworth. He was there for about a year, always in Hong Kong on 11 January 1857:struggling perhaps because of business competitors To Nelliewho had arrived in beechworth just two days after him. More than my eyes I love thee,Woodbury’s photography involved portraiture but also But I love my eyes still moregold-mining scenes, street scenes, landscapes and at Because with them I saw thee. •least one backyardscape with washing flapping on clotheslines. He tried to differentiate himselffrom his beechworth competitors(they produced daguerreotypes)by specialising in the useof collodion wet plate glassnegatives and albumen prints.this process, which carried the photographicimage in a layer of albumen made fromeggwhites, and Woodbury’s pioneering use ofit gives the already valuable images in the albumsome added rarity and novelty. Woodbury, only inAustralia for five years, went on to become a world-famous and famously innovative photographer. Helodged 20 patents, one of them for the intrepidtaking of photographs from hot-air balloons. everyone can look at thealbum’s contents online but :: 17
  20. 20. T he F light of the Budgerigar Penny Olsen takes a look at the humble budgie and uncovers the world’s most successfully marketed pet T ebenezer edward Gostelow he drying of lake eyre (1866–1944) in 2009 produced moreThe Warbling Grass Parrot, Shell Budgerigar (melopsittacus than the airborne dust that undulatus) 1928 carpeted the eastern seaboard watercolour; 43.0 x 22.0 cm and drifted as far as New Pictures collection nla.pic-an3829066 Zealand. In October, clouds of budgerigars burst from the Red Centre where, nine months before, rivers flowed through the hit the ‘skyroad’ and headed to better-watered, drought-parched landscape, partially filling the more coastal parts. sprawling lake. It was following one such event that English The arrival of water triggered mass-breeding ornithologist John Gould (see previous article) events among several denizens of the inland, stumbled upon budgerigars breeding in 1839 plus avian visitors from more coastal areas, on the Liverpool Plains, just west of the keen to take advantage of the ephemeral Great Divide, in New South Wales. He had flush in food. The budgerigars had raised been gathering material for his great work, several broods during the good months. the multi-volume, lavishly illustrated treatise Busy colonies nested around billabongs, The Birds of Australia. In it, he explains his every tree hole supporting a pair or more. encounter with the ‘Betcherrygah’ of the The youngsters contributed, raising young ‘Natives of the Liverpool Plains’: when they themselves were but months old. Great chattering flocks of tens of thousands in the beginning of December, I found built up and streamed straight across the sky, myself surrounded by numbers, breeding in wings whirring. The squadrons maintained all the hollow spouts of the large Eucalypti formation, wheeling in unison to dodge the bordering the Mokai; and on crossing the avian predators that intercepted the flow, plains between that river and the Peel, flashing first green, then gold. They alighted to in the direction of the Turi Mountain, crowd the limbs of creekside gum trees like so I saw them in flocks of many hundreds much extra foliage and quietly sat out the heat feeding upon the grass-seeds that were there of the day or cautiously made their way down abundant. for a hasty drink. Life was often short: if they were not fodder Later, in Handbook to the Birds of Australia, for the raptors that were also taking advantage Gould revised his estimate: ‘I saw them in of the flush, they perished in soaring flocks of many thousands’. Gould understood temperatures. The survivors, still relatively that the birds might be eruptive, prone to plentiful, soon found the landscape returning ‘periodic exodus’, writing in 1866 to egg- to its usual sunburnt reds. True nomads, they collector Edward Ramsay, future Curator of18::
  21. 21. the Australian Museum: ‘The Black Fellows Gould confided that he was expecting to fendof the Upper Hunter told me that the little off royalty:Melopsittacus undulatus had come to meet me,for they had never seen the bird in that district I met Prince Albert at the last Soc.until the year I arrived’. Meeting, the little pets were … of course In 1840 Gould returned to London with introduced. The Prince was very mucha vast collection of specimen skins, nests pleased with them and I am any dayand eggs. He arrived bearing ‘presents for a expecting a Command from the Queenfew private friends’—a collection of parrots, requesting they should be submitted to her.including a galah and several eastern andcrimson rosellas, the only animals in his Gould’s birds may not have been a pair, formenagerie to survive the four-month voyage apparently they never bred. Derby, however,from Port Jackson to London. eventually obtained some live birds for his Gould’s sponsor Lord Derby soon expressed extensive private zoo and is credited witha keen interest in the budgerigars, asking ‘How breeding the first budgies in captivity. Early inmany of these are now in Life?’ and adding February 1848 he wrote to Gould:‘I suppose you have heard that Wh[?] hasthree of them for which he has the modesty I have pleasure to tell you that we haveto ask 20£ each’, a fortune at the time. Gould been most pleased here by the fact of a Pairreplied that he had left the colony with 19 live of the Melopsittacus undulatus breedingbudgerigars but only two had survived: … We do not yet know anything more than she certainly has hatched, for we can hear melopsittacus undulatus At one time I had fifteen of Nanodes the young, but how many we can not even (Warbling Grass-Parrakeet) in undulatus alive, all of which died on our guess. This is curious & I believe it is the The Birds of Australia, vol. 5, by leaving the country, however Mrs Gould’s 1st instance. I trust they may go well, but John Gould, 1848 Australian rare books collection brother presented her with four other living can not help further more than hoping. specimens of this beautiful bird—two of these also died, the others arrived in safety and are especial pets of Mrs Gould.Excusing his failure to forward them tohis patron, Gould pleaded sentimentalassociation: ‘Had they not been given to[Elizabeth] by her brother they would havebeen at once forwarded to your Lordship’. Tomake amends he offered ‘a pair of Platycercusbarnardii [Australian ringnecks] as a slighttoken of respect of one who is ever sensibleof the many favors he has received at yourLordship’s hands’. The following April, Gould reported backto the Australian-based donor of their petiteparrots, his brother-in-law Stephen Coxen.Gould’s collecting trip had enhanced hisreputation and given him access to highsociety. The two budgerigars, ‘the mostanimated cheerful little creatures you canpossibly imagine’, were a boon: They are looked upon by every one with great interest and I can take them out with me not only to the Scientific Meetings of the Society but to some of the large homes of the Nobility who discuss my return from Australia. the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 19
  22. 22. Australia added to numbers in Britain, where 2000 budgies at a time crowded London dealers’ bird rooms. The peak of importation was in the first six months of 1879, when 50 000 pairs were estimated to have been shipped and dispersed across Europe, where, by the 1880s, budgie ‘factories’ were producing batches of 15 000 birds. By the mid-nineteenth century the general population was enjoying the fruits of the industrial revolution. Many ordinary families could afford a pet, even an exotic parrot, once the preserve of nobility. The little budgerigar was affordable, hardy, easy to keep, playful, social, devoted and long-lived. Its happy disposition and pleasant, conversational chatter made it good company. Books on cagebirds extolled the virtues of the miniature parrot. One of the earliest was Charles Gedney’s Foreign Cage Birds (1877), which gushed: Of all the parrakeet tribe this variety has found the most favour in England, and deservedly so, for not only is the plumage exquisitely beautiful, but its gentle loving disposition is sure to win the hearts of those who keep it … Lately it has become the fashion to call these birds budgerigars … By whatever name they are called, these graceful little creatures will ever hold a foremost place in my estimation, and I heartily recommend them to my bird-loving readers. Gedney’s manual also provided a remedy Neville William cayley Derby’s pair hatched two chicks but they did to cure the birds of the diarrhoea that so (1886–1950) not survive to fledging. About the third day of often accompanied the overcrowding of Budgerigar (melopsittacus undulatus) 1930s March, Derby informed Gould: ‘I am sorry to dealers’ rooms, a sober reminder of the many watercolour; 54.0 x 36.5 cm tell you both my little Melopsittaci have died budgerigars that perished before they had a Pictures collection nla.pic-an7021891 but they are preserved in the Museum’. chance to find a place in someone’s heart. Within a few years the Queen had her Although it was not immediately known, budgies, as she does today. In 1845, Gould’s the budgerigar could also be individualised, secretary commented to a correspondent adding to its appeal. More than any other that ‘a fine pair are in the possession of Her animal, its colour could be manipulated, Majesty’ and was dissuading further collection and new colours, shapes and sizes were of budgerigar specimens by Gould’s Australian developed intermittently, which kept the collectors because they were no longer new market fresh and profits high. Around 1870, or rare. Writing in 1865, Gould reported a yellow budgie became available, developed that the budgerigar was ‘bred here as readily from a natural but extremely rare variant. as the Canary’. Contrary to what he had The coveted sky blue mutation was bred and assured Derby in 1840, he added: ‘I believe lost in the late 1870s, before the variant was I was one of the first who introduced living successfully stabilised four decades later. examples to this country, having succeeded in When the blue budgie was exhibited in bringing home several on my return in 1840’. London in 1910, it caused a sensation among By this time, nearly every ship from southern aviculturists and the public.20::
  23. 23. The cult of the budgerigar had taken Exhibition in Berlin caused a sensationflight. There were societies, exhibitions and and confounded the sceptics:standards of perfection. Within a few decadesthe budgerigar was Europe’s most popular There … stood the [speaking budgerigar]cagebird, before conquering the United … bodily before the eyes of theStates, Japan and beyond. Shortly after the unbelieving, and thousands of visitorsSecond World War, bright red budgerigars to the exhibition could convincewere imported from India to England, South themselves that they were not theAfrica and Australia to great fanfare. When victims of deception.the much-admired birds went throughtheir annual moult, the fraud was revealed. Back in their home country no oneThey were white birds, dyed scarlet by some was interested in breeding budgies.enterprising trader. To this day, the burgundy In season, in the early decades ofbudgerigar remains a dream. the twentieth century, they could be Some 30 primary colour mutations are now purchased by the dozen at the costrecognised, making hundreds of variations of only a few shillings andpossible. Recognised colours range from they were still exportedviolet to cobalt, anthracite and cinnamon, en masse. But by the lateand patterns from saddleback, clearbody and 1930s, Neville Cayley,lacewing to pied. The standard English show well-known ornithologistbudgie is now a puffy headed giant nearly and author, lamented: ‘Wetwice the weight of the original. Australians now realise If the potential for ‘improvement’ on nature that great opportunitieswas not enough, with an early start, the budgie were missed’, and thealso proved highly trainable: it could shake budgerigar, in its newhands, ring bells, climb poles and pull small multi-coloured garb,wagons on command. In the last decades available also in super-of the nineteenth century, a few expatriate sized, crested and curlybudgerigars began new careers, performing feathered models, wastricks in mini-circuses and, as the mediums imported at great expense.of fortune tellers in the marketplace, selecting Gould’s humble budgiesscraps of paper bearing forecasts. Later still started a craze thatthey made charming magicians’ accomplices. eventually spread around But most amazing of all, the miniature the world. They remainparrots could talk. More extraordinary still, common, much-lovedthey could speak several languages! In 1880, household pets and coveteda little speaking budgerigar in the Ornis show birds, more popular even than the top canary. The budgerigar’s story stands as the unknown photographer Johnny Hart—Young English Bird most successful mass marketing of a pet in Magi c.1945–1993 history and an early example of Australians’ gelatin silver print; 10.0 x 8.0 cm state library of victoria perplexing propensity to export their nation’s P.293/No.981 ‘raw’ natural resources so that others profit from their development. below unknown photographer Sadly, many Australians are unaware that Gracie Fields with Two the ubiquitous little cagebird is an Australian Budgerigars on Top of Her Head native, found naturally wild nowhere else in 1945 b&w photograph; 20.3 x 15.2 cm the world. Even its original colours are ‘true Pictures collection blue’—Australia’s national colours of green nla.pic-vn3600628 and gold. left Cricket-playing Budgerigar in The Advertiser (south Australia), 20 November 1953 PeNNy olseN, a former National library of Newspapers and microforms Australia Harold White Fellow, was assisted in her collection research on the social history of the budgerigar by a literature Grant from the Australia council for the Arts the national library magazine :: june 2011 :: 21