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Biographical entry Saville-Kent, William (1845 - 1908)

10 July 1845
Sidmouth, Devon, England
11 October 1908
Bournemouth, England
Naturalist and Entomologist


William Saville-Kent was the founder of Australian fisheries science. He worked in several aquaria in England, then came to Australia, where he was Commissioner/Inspector of Fisheries for Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia in turn. Later in life he had a particular interest in pearl oyster culture.


Born William Savill Kent on 10 July 1845. Appears to have adopted the name William Saville-Kent ca 1873. Educated at Kings College, where he qualified to enter the Imperial Civil Service. Held various short-term appointments in England, including the British Museum 1868-72 and several aquaria. Inspector of Tasmanian Fisheries 1884-87; Commissioner of Fisheries for Queensland 1889-92; Commissioner of Fisheries for Western Australia 1892-95. Returned to England for the remainder of his life, though probably spent a good deal of the time between 1896 and 1907 in tropical Australia and adjacent areas engaged in pearl oyster culture. President, Royal Society of Queensland, 1889-90. Died 11 October 1908.

Published resources


  • Harrison, A.J., Savant of the Australian Seas: William Saville-Kent (1845-1908) (Hobart: Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 1997), 180 pp. Details
  • Musgrave, A., Bibliography of Australian Entomology, 1775-1930 (Sydney: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales., 1932), 380 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Harrison, A. J., 'William Saville-Kent, 1845-1908' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). Details
  • Harrison, A.J., 'Saville-Kent, William (1845-1908), Fisheries Scientist and Author' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. Supplement (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2005), pp. 352-353. Details

Journal Articles

  • Harrison, A.J., 'William Saville - Kent, FLS, FZS, FRMS (1845-1908)', Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 122 (2) (1988), 165-178. Details
  • Harrison, A.J., 'The Fisheries Savant: William Saville-Kent in Victoria 1887-8', Historical Records of Australian Science, 11 (3) (1997), 419-429. Details


Resource Sections

McCarthy, G.J.