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Biographical entry Womersley, Herbert (1889 - 1962)


10 April 1889
Warrington, Lancashire, United Kingdom
14 October 1962
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


Herbert Womersley was an entomologist whose research focussed on the taxonomy of Acarina (mites and ticks), Apterygota (silverfish) and Diptera (flies). He came to Australia in 1930 to work for the CSIRO Division of Economic Entomology in Western Australia but, with limited prospects of continued employment, applied to become Entomologist at the South Australian Museum. For the next 26 years he was responsible for all the Museum's arthropod collections except Crustaceae, including their curation and research into their taxonomy and classification, particularly species of economic importance. In the process he developed the Museum's collection of Acarina into one of the world's most significant. Of his nearly 200 publications, over 150 were on Acarina and included major works on species occurring in Australasia and southeast Asia. After his official retirement, the Museum created the position of Acarologist so that Womersley could continue his research. Womersley played a leading role in the Royal Society of South Australia serving in executive offices including President. Seven genera and over 20 species were names in his honour.



1915 - 1917
Career position - Served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Chemical Corps, Royal Engineers
1920 - 1930
Career position - Manager, Fuel and Steamraising Department, Christopher Thomas & Bros Ltd (soap manufacturers)
1926 - 1962
Career position - Fellow, Entomological Society of London
Award - Associate (Honoris Causa), Linnean Society of London
Life event - Migrated to Australia
1930 - 1932
Career position - Entomologist, Section of Pasture and Field Pests, CSIR Division of Entomology
1933 - 1954
Career position - Entomologist, South Australian Museum
1933 - 1962
Career position - Member, Royal Society of South Australia
1937 - 1943
Career position - Editor, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia
Award - Sir Joseph Verco Medal, Royal Society of South Australia
1943 - 1944
Career position - President, Royal Society of South Australia
Life event - Retired as Entomologist
1954 - 1959
Career position - Acarologist, South Australian Museum
Life event - Retired as Acarologist
1959 - 1962
Career position - Honorary Acarologist, South Australian Museum
Award - Honorary Fellow, Royal Society of South Australia

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana

  • Herbert Womersley - Records, 1923 - 1945, PRG 146; State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Halliday, R. B., '250 years of Australian acarology', in Halliday, R. B. et al (ed.), Acarology: proceedings of the 10th International Congress, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Vic., 2001, pp. 3-16. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'Herbert Womersley, ALS (Hon. Causa), FRS, 1889-1962', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, vol. 87, 1963, pp. 249-252. Details
  • Southcott, R. V., 'Obituary: Herbert Womersley, A.L.S. (Hon. Causa), F. R. E.S. 1889 - 1952', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, vol. 87, 1963, pp. 249-52. Details
  • Southcott, R. V., 'Herbert Womersley (1889 - 1962)', Acarologia, vol. 5, no. 3, 1963, pp. 323-4. Details
  • Southcott, R. V., 'Herbert Womersley, ALS (Honoris Causa), FRS, 10.4.1889- 14.10.1962, Obituary Notice', Records of the South Australian Museum, vol. 14, no. 4, 1964, pp. 603-632. Details

Online Resources

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn