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Biographical entry White, Henry Luke (1860 - 1927)

9 May 1860
Anambah, New South Wales, Australia
30 May 1927
Belltrees, New South Wales, Australia
Pastoralist and Ornithologist


Henry White was a grazier and ornithologist. His collection of 8500 bird skins was donated to the Museum of Victoria in 1917 and his collection of over 4200 clutches of birds' eggs, comprising 800 species, was transferred to the museum after his death. He was a generous benefactor to the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union.


Born Anambah, near Maitland, New South Wales, 9 May 1860. Died Scone, New South Wales, 30 May 1927. Educated The Goulburn School, Garroorigang. Qualified as a surveyor 1884. Manager, 'Belltrees', Scone 1885-89, managing partner 1889-1927, breeding sheep, horses, cattle and new strains of wheat, releasing trout fingerlings in the creeks, establishing a plantation of 1,000 eucalypts and growing prize-winning chrysanthemums. Collected books, stamps, later donating the collection to the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and birds' eggs and skins, employing a number of collectors in the field. One of these, S.W. Jackson, also sold White his egg collection and acted for a number of years as curator of White's collection. Donated the collection of skins and eggs to the National Museum, Melbourne, where they are known as the 'H.L. White Collection'. Foundation president, Woolooma (Upper Hunter) Shire Council 1906-27; member, Pastures Protection Board for more than 35 years; member, Upper Hunter Stock Board for 40 years. Honorary member, Royal Australasian Ornithologist' Union 1913. Corresponding Fellow, American Ornithologists' Union. A number of genera, species and sub-species of bird have been named after him, in particular Amytornis whitei, Falcunculus whitei, and Lacustroica whitei.

Published resources


  • White, Judy, The Art of Collecting National Heritage: the Letters of Henry Luke White 1910-1913, Seven Press, Scone, N.S.W., 2007, 190 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Campbell, A. J., 'The Ornithology of H. L. White', Emu, vol. 27, 1928, pp. 198-200. 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