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Biographical entry McGill, Arnold Robert (1905 - 1988)

3 July 1905
Tooraweenah, New South Wales, Australia
29 July 1988
Business executive and Ornithologist


Arnold McGill was an amateur ornithologist who regularly gave illustrated talks to a wide range of audiences. Probably the most notable contribution he made to ornithology in Australia was a compilation of 'A Species Index' to The Emu. The first index covered vols 1-50, with later indexes covering vols 51-60 and 61-70 and an index to authors and species for each volume from 1971-1987.


Born Tooraweenah, New South Wales, 3 July 1905. Died Liverpool, New South Wales, 29 July 1988. OAM 1984. Worked in his father's grocery business, first in the central west of New South Wales and later at Arncliffe, in Sydney, and eventually managed a wholesale grocery chain. Fellow, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales; Fellow, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1965. Assistant editor, Emu, 1948-69; president, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1958-59. Wrote a number of books, including Field Guide to the Waders, with H. T. Condon (1952), a revision of What Bird is That? with Alec Chisholm and Keith Hindwood (1959), A Handlist of the Birds of New South Wales (1960) and Australian Warblers (1970), and reviewed books for The Australian. His knowledge and memory for avian systematics and taxonomy on a world scale was outstanding. His wife, Bertie, who died in 1982, supported him in his ornithological involvements and was almost as well known among the birding fraternity as he was.

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Nixon, C. E. V., 'McGill, Arnold Robert (1905-1988), Ornithologist and Businessman', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 18, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012, pp. 74-5. Details

Journal Articles

  • McGill, A. R., 'Alexander Hugh Chisholm', The Emu, vol. 77, 1977, pp. 232-235. 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