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Biographical entry Covacevich, Jeanette Adelaide (1945 - 2015)

26 March 1945
Innisfail, Western Australia, Australia
17 December 2015
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Herpetologist and Museum curator


Jeanette Covacevich was a herpetologist whose research interests were mainly in the taxonomy, zoogeography and conservation of Australo-Papuan reptiles, especially those from rainforests, deserts and heaths. Her research also included Aboriginal history, envenomation, and documenting the range and status of the Queensland fauna, particularly endangered vertebrates. She described 30 new species of snakes. Covacevich was instrumental in the conservation of bioregions such as the Brigalow Belt, North Stradbroke Island and the Wet Tropics. As Curator at the Queensland Museum she expanded the collections of reptiles and frogs from 7,000 to approximately 60,000 specimens. Covacevich had a long association with the medical profession as an expert consultant on snake envenomation and identification. She was active in many scientific and conservation societies including the Royal Society of Queensland, the Queensland Naturalist's Club, the Australian Society of Herpetologists and the Rainforest Conservation Society of Queensland



Education - MSc, Griffith University
1978 - 1984
Career position - Secretary, Stradbroke Island Management Organisation
1978 - 1992
Career position - Senior Curator (Reptiles), Queensland Museum
1988 - 1990
President, Australian Society of Herpetologists
1992 - 2002
Career position - Senior Curator (Vertebrates), Queensland Museum
Career position - President, Royal Society of Queensland
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to science, particularly in the fields of herpetology and conservation
1996 - 2002
Career position - Member, Scientific and Clinical Emergencies Subcommittee of the Graduate Medical Course, University of Queensland
1997 - 1999
Career position - Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Queensland Nature Conservation Act
Award - Queensland Museum Medal
Life event - Retired
2002 - 2015
Career position - Honorary Research Associate, Queensland Museum
Award - Queensland Natural History Award, Queensland Naturalists' Club
Award - Public Service Medal (PSM) for outstanding public service to the Queensland Museum, to the wider scientific community, and to the people of Queensland
Award - Australian Natural History Medallion, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Covacevich, Jeanette, 'Epicentre or Outback', in John Pearn (ed.), Health, History and Horizons, Amphion Press, Brisbane, 1992, pp. 3-15. Details
  • Covacevich, Jeanette; Irvine, Tony; Davis, George, 'A Rainforest Pharmacopoeia: Five Thousand Years of Effective Medicine', in John Pearn (ed.), Pioneer Medicine in Australia, Amphion Press, Brisbane, 1988, pp. 159-174, 299-301. Details

Conference Papers

  • Covacevich, J.A.; Ogilvie, A.; Walker, F., '"Stone Walls Do Not a Prison Make...": Profiles of Prisoners on North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia', in Covacevich, Jeanette, Pearn, John, Case, Donna, Chapple, Ian and Phillips, Gael (eds), History, Heritage and Health: Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Conference of the Australian Society of the History of Medicine, Norfolk Island, 2-9 July, 1995, Society of the History of Medicine, Brisbane, 1996, pp. 39-46. Details

Conference Proceedings

  • Covacevich, Jeanette; Pearn, John; Case, Donna; Chapple, Ian; Phillips, Gael (ed.), History, Heritage and Health: Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Conference of the Australian Society of Medicine, Norfolk Island, 2-9 July, 1995, Society of the History of Medicine, Brisbane, 1996, 439 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Couper, Patrick J. and Mckay, Judith, 'Vale Jeanette Adelaide Covacevich, AM, PSM (1945 - 2015)', Memoirs of the Queensland Museum: Nature, vol. 59, 2016, pp. 257-71. Details
  • Couper, Patrick, Mckay, Judith, Campbell, Bruce and Pearn, John, 'Obituary of Jeanette Covacevich AM 1945-2015', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, vol. 120, 2016, pp. 75-6. Details
  • Covacevich, J. A., '"He learned to look on nature": Lewis John Roberts, OAM, bushman and born naturalist', Queensland Naturalist, vol. 52, no. 4/6, 2014, pp. 61-74. Details
  • Covacevich, Jeanette, 'First Formal Australian Record of a Tree Kangaroo: Aboriginal, not European', Aboriginal History, vol. 26, 2002, pp. 220-222. Details
  • Endersby, Ian, 'Australian Natural History Medallion 2007: Jeanette Covacevich AM, PSM', Victorian Naturalist, vol. 124, no. 6, 2007, pp. 342-3. Details

Online Resources

Helen Cohn