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Biographical entry Cayley, Neville William (1886 - 1950)

7 January 1886
Yamba, New South Wales, Australia
17 March 1950
Avalon, New South Wales, Australia


Neville Cayley illustrated birds' eggs for the Australian Encyclopaedia (1925-1926) and published What Bird is That? in 1931. This was followed by numerous other publications on Australian birds, his illustrative work extending to both butterflies and animals. He signed his work 'Neville W. Cayley'.


Born Yamba, New South Wales, 7 January 1886. Died Avalon, New South Wales, 17 March 1950. Son of N.H.P. Cayley (q.v.). Educated at art school. Painted mostly birds and held a number of exhibitions; illustrated birds' eggs for the Australian Encyclopaedia (1925-26); colour drawings for G A Waterhouse's (q.v.) What Butterfly is That? (1932) and Ellis Troughton's (q.v.) Furred Animals of Australia (1941); wrote What Bird is That? (published 1931 and reprinted many times) and a number of other books on Australian birds; wrote popular articles on birds for the weekly Sydney Mail. Honorary Member, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union; Honorary Life member, New South Wales Gould League of Bird Lovers 1935. President, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1932-33; president, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1936-37; Council member, New South Wales Gould League of Bird Lovers; New South Wales National Park trustee 1937-48 and one of the prime movers in advocating the building of the Bird Cabin there.

Published resources


  • Olsen, Penny, Cayley and Son: the Life and Art of Neville Henry Cayley and Neville William Cayley, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2013, 227 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Chisholm, A. H., 'Cayley, Neville William (1886-1950), ornithologist and artist', in Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 7, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1979, pp. 596-597. Also available at Details

Journal Articles

  • Cayley, N., 'John Gould as an Illustrator.', Emu, vol. 38, 1938. 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.