Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Biographical entry Oliver, Walter Reginald Brook (1883 - 1957)

Born
7 September 1883
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Died
16 May 1957
Seatoun, Wellington, New Zealand
Occupation
Botanist, Museum director and Ornithologist

Summary

Walter Reginald B. Oliver was one of New Zealand's most prolific collectors of flora and fauna. He also wrote numerous classic texts in the fields of botany and ornithology, including the book New Zealand Birds and made significant contributions to the study of mollusca and whales. He was a long-term member, councilor, one-time President and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute / Royal Society of New Zealand and was heavily involved in other national and international scientific organizations. His first job was as an officer with the New Zealand Customs Department and that saw him help plan an expedition to the Kermadec Islands (1907-1908). This trip resulted in the publication of seven major scientific articles on the island's geology, flora and fauna. When he returned to Christchurch, he continued his own private collection trips. After serving in World War I, Oliver made a short return to the Customs Department, then went on to become Senior Scientific Assistant (1920-1927) and later Director at the Dominion Museum in Wellington (1928-1947). After his retirement in 1947, Oliver continued his own private research and collections.

Details

Events

1896
Life event - Migrated to New Zealand with his parents
1900 - 1914
Career position - Officer in the New Zealand Customs Department
1907 - 1908
Career position - Expedition to Sunday Island in the Kermadec Group
1909
Career position - Collection expedition to Chatham Islands (one month)
1910
Career position - Collection expedition to Stewart Island (two month)
1913
Career position - Collection expedition to Lord Howe Island (fifteen days)
1914 - 1918
Career position - War service with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force
1919
Career position - Collection of plants from Tahiti
1919 - 1920
Career position - Senior Officer in the New Zealand Customs Department
1920 - 1927
Career position - Senior Scientific Assistant at the Dominion Museum in Wellington
1924 - 1927
Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at Victoria University College
1927 -
Award - Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (later renamed the Royal Society of New Zealand)
1928 - 1947
Career position - Director of the Dominion Museum
1929 - 1933
Career position - Member of the Board of Governors of the New Zealand Institute / Royal Society of New Zealand
1930
Career position - New Zealand Birds published
c. 1931
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at Victoria University College
1934
Education - Doctor of Science (DSc) received from the University of New Zealand
1934 - 1956
Career position - Council member of the New Zealand Institute / Royal Society of New Zealand
1936
Award - Hector Memorial Medal and Prize received
1937 - 1938
Award - Carnegie Corporation travel grant received to study developments in museums overseas
1939
Career position - British Empire member of the British Ornithologists' Union
1943 - 1944
Career position - President of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union
1947
Life event - Retired
1948
Career position - Relieving Director of the Canterbury Museum
1949
Career position - Collection expedition to Fiordland
1950
Award - Hutton Memorial Medal received
1952 - 1954
Career position - President of the Royal Society of New Zealand
1956
Career position - Collection expedition to Norfolk Island

Published resources

Books

  • Whittell, H. M., The Literature of Australian Birds: a History and a Bibliography of Australian Ornithology, Patterson Brokensha, Perth, 1954. Details

Book Sections

  • Dell, R. K., 'Oliver, Walter Reginald Brook 1883-1957', in Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol. 4, 1998. 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
  • Oliver, Walter Reginald Brook (Australia-New Zealand 1883-1957), Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists: Chrono-Biographical Sketches, http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/chronob/OLIV1883.htm. Details

Rosanne Walker