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Biographical entry Diggles, Silvester (1817 - 1880)

Born
24 January 1817
Liverpool, England
Died
21 March 1880
Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Occupation
Naturalist, Artist and Musician

Summary

Sylvester Diggles was a musician, artist and naturalist who actively progressed the cultural and scientific development of Queensland in the 1850s. He was founder of the Brisbane Choral Society, the Brisbane Philharmonic Society and co-founder of the Queensland Philoscientific Society. Diggles and this society established the Queensland Museum in 1862.

Details

One year after arriving in Australia (Sydney), Sylvester Diggles moved his family to Queensland (1854). There he worked as a music and drawing teacher and musical instrument repairer. He founded the Brisbane Choral and Brisbane Philharmonic Societies and was dubbed 'the father of music in Brisbane'.

Diggles was a very religious man and joined, then lead, the New Jerusalem Church. He was also interested in science, especially ornithology and entomology. He helped establish Queensland's first scientific institute, the Queensland Philoscientific Society, which lead to the development of the Queensland Museum. Sylvester Diggles wrote many publications, but his most applauded work was the 21 part The Ornothology of Australia. He also drew 325 lithographed hand-coloured plates (many of which were used in the book) and developed a fine entomology collection (particularly moths, butterflies and beetles).

Events

c. 1846
Career position - Leader of the New Jerusalem Church in Queensland
November 1853
Life event - Arrived in Australia (Sydney)
November 1854
Life event - Moved to Brisbane
1859
Career position - Founder of the Brisbane Choral Society
1 March 1859
Career position - Co-founder of the Queensland Philoscientific Society
1861
Career position - Founder of the Brisbane Philharmonic Society
1862
Career position - Co-founder of the Queensland Museum
1865 - 1870
Career position - The Ornothology of Australia published in 21 parts

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Edward Pearson Ramsay - Records, 1860 - 1912, ML MSS 563; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Silvester Diggles - Records, 1870; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Gregory Macalister Mathews - Records, 1900 - 1949, MS 1465; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Silvester Diggles - Records, 1871 - 1877, MS 1551; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Published resources

Books

  • Piggott, Louis J., The Bird Man of Brisbane : Silvester Diggles and his Ornithology of Australia, Boolarong Press, Moorooka (Qld), 2010, 214 pp. Details

Book Sections

CD Roms

  • Fisher, Rod, Diggles Down Under: Brisbane via Sydney from Merseyside 1855-80, Brisbane History Group, Brisbane, 2003. Details

Journal Articles

  • Marks, E. N., 'Silvester Diggles - a Queensland naturalist one hundred years ago', Queensland Naturalist, vol. 17, 1963, pp. 15-25. Details
  • Marks, Elizabeth N., 'Silvester Diggles - a Queensland Naturalist One Hundred Years Ago', Queensland Naturalist, vol. 17, no. 1/2, 1963, pp. 15-25. Details
  • Marks, Elizabeth N., 'Notes on Diggles 'Ornithology of Australia'', Queensland Naturalist, vol. 17, no. 5/6, 1965, pp. 99-102. Details
  • Piggott, L. J., 'Sylvester Diggles (1817-1880), Australian ornithologist', Archives of natural history, vol. 31, no. 2, 2004, pp. 253-74. Details

Reviews

  • Jones, Darryl, review of Piggott, Louis J., The Bird Man of Brisbane : Silvester Diggles and his Ornithology of Australia (2010), Archives of Natural History, vol. 39, 2012, p. 372. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Lomb, Nick, 'Australian solar eclipse expeditions: the voyage to Cape York in 1871', Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, vol. 19, no. 1, 2016, pp. 79-95. Details

McCarthy, G.J.