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Biographical entry Fleming, Charles Alexander (1916 - 1987)

KBE, OBE, FRS, FGS, FRSNZ, FRAOU

Born
9 September 1916
Auckland, New Zealand
Died
11 September 1987
Wellington, New Zealand
Occupation
Palaeontologist and Ornithologist

Summary

(Sir) Charles Alexander Fleming was one of New Zealand's most famous and revered naturalists who made major contributions to many fields especially in the knowledge of local bird and mollusc species. One of his pet subjects was the influence of past climates on the distribution of birds. His professional career, which spanned over thirty years, was spent in the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research on the New Zealand Geological Survey team. Fleming joined the team in 1940 as an Assistant Geologist and retired in 1977 at the level of Chief Palaeontologist. He was a prolific fieldworker, researcher and writer who contributed to all the major natural history publications and wrote numerous books including the Checklist of New Zealand Birds(1953), The Geological History of New Zealand and its Life (1979) and George Edward Lodge: The Unpublished New Zealand Bird Paintings (1982). Fleming was also actively involved in conservation of endangered animals serving on the National Parks Authority, The Outlying Islands Reserves Committee and on the New Zealand Native Animals Advisory Council / Fauna Protection Advisory Council almost continuously from 1955. Throughout his illustrious career he received a great many awards including Fellowships to some of the world's most prestigious professional societies and a Knighthood in 1977.

Details

Events

1938
Education - Bachelor of Arts (BA) completed at Auckland University College
1940
Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at Auckland University College
1940 - 1942
Career position - Assistant Geologist with the Geological Survey of New Zealand
1941
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at Auckland University College
1942 - 1943
Career position - Coastwatcher (war service) on Auckland Island
1942 - 1945
Assistant Palaeontologist with the Geological Survey of New Zealand
1943
Award - Hamilton Award received from the Royal Society of New Zealand
1945 - 1952
Career position - Palaeontologist in New Zealand
1948 - 1949
Career position - President of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand
1951
Award - New Zealand Research Medal received from the New Zealand Scientific Workers Association
1952 -
Award - Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (FRSNZ)
1952
Education - Doctor of Science (DSc) received from Auckland University College
1953 - 1977
Career position - Chief Palaeontologist with the Geological Survey of New Zealand at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
1956
Award - Hutton Memorial Award received from the Royal Society of New Zealand
1957
Award - McKay Hammer Award received from the Geological Society of New Zealand
1961 -
Career position - Corresponding Fellow of the American Ornithologists Union
1961
Award - Mt Fleming in Victoria Land, Antarctica named in his honour
1962 - 1966
Award - President of the Royal Society of New Zealand
1963
Award - Hector Memorial Medal and Prize received from the Royal Society of New Zealand
1964
Award - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
1965
Award - Walter Burfitt Prize received from the Royal Society of New South Wales
1967 -
Award - Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
1967
Education - Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) received from Victoria University in Wellington
1968
Award - Foreign Fellow of the Geological Society of London (FGS)
1968
Award - William Smith Lecturers presented to the Geological Society, London
1968 - 1969
Career position - President of ANZAAS (Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science)
1969
Award - New Zealand Association of Scientists Medal received
1972
Award - ANZAAS Medal received (Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science)
1973
Career position - Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society
1974 -
Award - Fellow of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union (FRAOU)
1974
Education - Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) received from the University of Auckland
1977
Award - Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)
1988
Award - Charles Fleming Award for Environmental Achievement established by the Royal Society of New Zealand to commemorate his achievements

Published resources

Books

  • Fleming, C. A., Science, settlers and scholars: the centennial history of the Royal Society of New Zealand, The Society, Wellington, 1987, 353 pp. Details
  • McEwen, Mary, Charles Fleming: Environmental Patriot, 1st edn, Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson, NZ, November, 382 pp. Details
  • Whittell, H. M., The Literature of Australian Birds: a History and a Bibliography of Australian Ornithology, Patterson Brokensha, Perth, 1954. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'RAOU Fellows: Citations', The Emu, vol. 74, no. 4, October, p. 259. Details
  • 'Charles Alexander Fleming', Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1987-1988, vol. 116, Royal Society of New Zealand, 1988, pp. 22-41. Details
  • Fleming, C. A., 'The Contribution of New Zealand Geoscientists to the Development of Scientific Institutions', Earth Sciences History, vol. 5, no. 1, 1986, pp. 3-11. Details
  • Turbott, E.G., 'Obituary: Charles Alexander Fleming 1916-1987', The Emu, vol. 88, no. 4, December, pp. 269-270. Details

Reviews

  • Robin, Libby, review of McEwen, Mary, Charles Fleming: Environmental Patriot (2005), Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 17, no. 1, 2006, pp. 117-119. 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

Rosanne Walker & Annette Alafaci