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Biographical entry Barrett, Charles Leslie (1879 - 1959)

26 June 1879
Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
16 January 1959
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Naturalist and Ornithologist


Charles Barrett was a naturalist writer with The Herald, Melbourne for 33 years and author of several books on flora and fauna of Australia.


Barrett collected insects throughout much of Australia, sending many to entomologists in other parts of the world. He visited troops in northern Australia and New Guinea during World War II, lecturing on practical bush lore. Barrett wrote popular books such as Coast of Adventure, In Australian Wilds (1919), Pals (a boys' paper, 1920-28), the dozen Sun Nature Books (cheap, but attractive, introductory books) and edited and contributed to the Australian Children's Encyclopaedia.

Barrett married Florence Ellen ("Effie") nee Williams, a trained nurse, on 12 June 1911. Florence accompanied Charles on his travels to the Great Barrier Reef, the Nullarbor Plain and across central and northern Australia as 'assistant naturalist'. She was also actively involved in the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, organising the Ladies' Committee that assisted with the wildflower shows. She died in October 1957.


1899 - 1959
Career position - Member, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1901 - 1959
Career position - Founding Member, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union
Life event - Prominent in foundation of Bird Observers' Club
1906 - 1939
Career position - Natural history writer for the Herald newspaper, Melbourne
1910 - 1916
Career position - Assistant Editor, Emu
1916 - 1918
Career position - Served with the Australian Imperial Forces
1925 - 1939
Career position - Editor, The Victorian naturalist
1929 - 1930
Career position - Vice-President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
1930 - 1931
Career position - President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
Career position - President, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales
1940 - 1941
Career position - Vice-President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
Award - Australian Natural History Medallion, Field Naturalist Club of Victoria

Related Awards

Related Journals

Published resources

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Colliver, F. S., 'Charles Leslie Barrett, F.R.Z.S., C.M.Z.S.', Victorian naturalist, 76 (1959), 110-11. Details


See also

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

McCarthy, G.J. & Rosanne Walker