Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Biographical entry Mathews, Gregory Macalister (1876 - 1949)

10 September 1876
Biamble, New South Wales, Australia
27 March 1949
Winchester, England


Gregory Mathews, who was born in New South Wales, came under the influence of R. Bowdler Sharpe at the British Museum in the early 1900s and thereafter endeavoured to produce an exhaustive work on Australian birds. This was published in 12 volumes as The Birds of Australia between 1910 and 1927.


Born Biamble, New South Wales, 10 September 1876. Died Winchester, England, 27 March 1949. CBE 1939. Educated The King's School, Parramatta. Cattle station, North Queensland for some years; orchardist, New South Wales; went to England 1902. Visited Australia and the United States 1914; visited Australia 1939-46, helping with housing of ornithological library, presented to the Commonwealth National Library in 1939. Made an intensive study of the skins of Australian birds (collected 30,000) and the literature concerning them (collected 5,000 books), with Tom Iredale as his secretary 1911-23. His skins were sold to Lord Rothschild and are now in the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Represented Australia at several international ornithological congresses. Edited and published Austral Avian Record 1912-1927. Wrote The Birds of Australia (12 volumes, a bibliography and checklist and, later, two supplements) 1910-27. Wrote a number of other ornithological books, including, with Tom Iredale, the first volume of A Manual of the Birds of Australia, which contained plates by Mrs Iredale (Lilian Medland). He then turned his attention to the study of the petrels of the world. Fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh; Fellow, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1939; Fellow, American Ornithologists Union. Chairman, British Ornithologists' Club 1935-38; president, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1946-47.

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

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

State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection

  • Gregory Macalister Mathews - Records, 1890 - 1949; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details

Published resources


  • Mathews, G. M., The Birds of Australia. Bibliography of the Birds of Australia., H. F. & G. Witherby, London, 1925. Details
  • Mathews, G. M., Birds and Books. the Story of Mathews Ornithological Library, Verity Hewitt, Canberra, 1942. Details

Book Sections

  • Kloot, Tess, 'Mathews, Gregory Macalister (1876-1949), Ornithologist', in Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 10, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1986, pp. 441-442. Also available at Details

Journal Articles

  • Bryant, C. E., 'Gregory M. Mathews', Emu, vol. 49, no. 2, 1949, pp. 145-8. Details
  • Iredale, T., 'The Work of Gregory Mathews, Ornithologist', Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, August, 1940, pp. 31-33. Details
  • Iredale, T., 'Gregory M. Mathews (1876-1949)', Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, vol. 1948/9, 1948, pp. 16-20. Details
  • Kinnear, N. B., 'Gregory M. Mathews, C.B.E.', Ibis, vol. 91, 1949, pp. 521-4. Details
  • Mathews, G. M., 'G. J. Broinowski', Emu, vol. 41, 1941. Details
  • Mathews, G.M. and Iredale, T., 'Captain Thomas Brown, Ornithologist', The Australian Avian Record, vol. 4, 1922, pp. 176-194. Details
  • Schodde, Richard, 'The Mathews Collection and the Birds of Australia', National Library of Australia News, February 2000, 2000, pp. 3-6. Details
  • Walker, Rosanne, 'Gregory Macalister Mathews: Taxonomist Extraordinaire', Australasian Science, vol. 21, no. 6, 2000, p. 46. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Robin, Libby, The Flight of the Emu: a Hundred Years of Australian Ornithology 1901-2001, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2001, 492 pp. Details

McCarthy, G.J.