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Biographical entry Serventy, Dominic Louis (1904 - 1988)

28 March 1904
Brown Hill, Western Australia, Australia
8 August 1988


Dominic Serventy worked for the Fisheries Division of CSIR/O 1937-1951 and the Wildlife Survey Section of CSIRO in Perth from 1951. He was taught to make bird skins by Otto Lipfert, the taxidermist of the Western Australian Museum. He was interested in all aspects of ornithology from biogeography and speciation to breeding seasons and general biology, was a major contributor to scientific journals and had a long-term influence on conservation, Government policies and the cause of natural history generally.


Born Brown Hill, Western Australia, 28 March 1904. Died Perth, 8 August 1988. Educated Universities of Western Australia (BSc) and Cambridge (PhD 1933). Assistant lecturer in zoology, University of Western Australia 1934-37; Research Officer, Marine Biological Laboratory, Fisheries Division, CSIR/O, Cronulla, New South Wales 1937-51; Officer-in-charge, Wildlife Survey Section, CSIRO, Perth, 1951-69. Corresponding Fellow, American Ornithologists' Union 1949, Honorary Fellow 1970; Fellow, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1952; Australian Natural History Medallion 1956; Royal Society of Tasmania Medal 1970; Royal Society of Western Australia Medal 1979; Corresponding Member, British Ornithologists' Union, German Ornithologists' Society (1952), South African Ornithological Society, Associacion Ornitológica del Plata (Argentine), Societé Ornithologique de France; Knight of the Golden Ark of the Netherlands 1973. Member, Western Australian Wild Life Authority 1943-74; President, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1947-49; Editor, Western Australian Naturalist 1947-80; president, Western Australian Naturalists' Club; Australian representative, Standing Committee on Pacific Conservation, Pacific Science Association 1949-66, chairman 1953-57; Member, Permanent Executive Committee, International Ornithological Congress 1966-78; Fellow, Western Australian Museum from 1974. Helped his brother Vincent (q.v.) and sister Lucy to revive the Western Australian Naturalists' Club after World War II. Produced extensive sets of bird distribution maps and wrote Birds of Western Australia (several editions) with H.M. Whittell and The Handbook of Australian Seabirds (1971) with Vincent Serventy and John Warham (qq.v.).

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Published resources

Book Sections

  • Erickson, Rica, 'Serventy, Dominic Louis (1904-1988), Ornithologist and Conservationist', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 18, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012, pp. 406-7. Details

Journal Articles

  • Keast, A., 'Obituary: Dr Dominic Louis Serventy', Emu, vol. 89, no. 3, 1989, pp. 183-4. Details
  • Serventy, D. L., 'The late Major H. M. Whittell. OBE', Emu, vol. 53, 1954, pp. 61-67. Details
  • Serventy, D. L., 'Ludwig Glauert - Museum Director and Naturalist', Western Australian Naturalist, vol. 5, 1957, pp. 148-165. Details
  • Serventy, D. L., 'Historical Background of Ornithology with Special Reference to Australia', Emu, vol. 72, no. 2, 1972, pp. 41-50. Details
  • Serventy, D. L. and Smith, G. G., ''Miss North's Tree,' Warren National Park', Western Australian Naturalist, vol. 13, no. 2/3, 1975, pp. 29-31. 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