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Corporate entry Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (1910 - 1997)

Hawthorn East, Victoria, Australia
Association and Society or membership organisation
Hawthorn East, Victoria


The Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU) dates for 1910 when the Union's predecessor, the Australasian Ornithologists' Union, received a Royal warrant from King George V. The Union's objectives continued to be the study and protection of Australia's avifauna, the promotion, advancement and popularisation of ornithology, and the publication of The emu. Following a period of decline the RAOU was revived in the late 1960s with an increased emphasis on the scientific aspects of ornithology. The RAOU has a number of regional and special interest groups, and established observatories in several States. Major initiatives of the RAOU include the Atlas of Australian Birds project and the publication of the 5-volume Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds (1990 - 2006). In 1997 the RAOU became Birds Australia. As well as publishing The emu the RAOU issued a members newsletter from 1969 (later named Wingspan.


 1901 - 1910 Australasian Ornithologist's Union
       1910 - 1997 Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union
             1997 - 2011 Birds Australia
                   2012 - Birdlife Australia

Related Awards

Related People

Published resources


  • Robin, Libby, The Flight of the Emu: a Hundred Years of Australian Ornithology 1901-2001 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2001), 492 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Robin, Libby, 'Conservation Through Knowledge: a Short History of the First National Ornithologists' Society in Australia' in Contributions to the History of Australasian Ornithology, volume 2, Davis, William E., Recher, Harry F. and Boles, Walter E., eds (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Nuttall Ornithological Club, 2012), pp. 1-49. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'RAOU Fellows: Citations', The Emu, 74 (4) (1974), 259. Details
  • Dickison, D. J., 'The first fifty years of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union', Emu, 51 (1951), 185-284. Details
  • Dillon, P. J. and Jones, E. L., ''The Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union Archive as a Source for the History of Science and the History of the Environment', La Trobe Library Journal, 10 (38) (1986), 29-32. Details



  • Wallace, Ray, 'A Body in Twain: the Royal Australasian Ornithological Union and the Events of 1969', MA thesis, University of Melbourne, 1990. Details

See also

Ailie Smith and Helen Cohn