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Biographical entry Iredale, Tom (1880 - 1972)

24 March 1880
Stainburn, Cumberland, England
12 April 1972
Harbord, New South Wales, Australia
Conchologist and Ornithologist


Tom Iredale, after spending a number of years working at the British Museum with G.M. Mathews on Australian birds, was appointed conchologist to the Australian Museum, Sydney 1924 -1944. He published widely on shells, birds, ecology and zoogeography.


Born Stainburn, Cumberland, England, 24 March 1880. Died Harbord, New South Wales, 12 April 1972. Apprentice to a pharmacist 1899-1901; clerk, Henry Berry & Co., Christchurch, New Zealand 1902-1907; Kermadec Islands 1908, collecting bird and molluscan specimens and field data; visited Queensland 1909, collecting about 300 species of chitons and other molluscs; freelance worker, British Museum 1909-10, working on his collections; assistant to Gregory Mathews (q.v.) on his Birds of Australia 1911-23 (much of the text was written by Iredale, but credited to Mathews); conchologist, Australian Museum 1924-44; Honorary Associate 1944-72; expert adviser Sir Edward Hallstrom on ornithological and avicultural books for a while after his retirement. Fellow, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1931; W.B. Clarke medal, Royal Society of New South Wales 1959. President, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1937-38. Many species in conchology, ichthyology and ornithology were named after him, as well as several genera. Wrote a large number of technical articles, lectured frequently and wrote popular scientific articles. Under various pseudonyms these appeared in Sydney newspapers and The Australian Cage Bird & Pigeon World (1935), in which he mostly signed himself Garrio (Latin for "I chatter"). Married Lilian Marguerite Medland 8 June 1923.

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Tom Iredale - Records, 1950, B1561; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Gregory Macalister Mathews - Records, 1900 - 1949, MS 1465; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Private hands (Iredale, R.)

  • Tom Iredale - Records, 1880 - 1972; Private hands (Iredale, R.). Details

Published resources

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • McMichael, Donald F. and Whitley, Gilbert P., 'The Published Writings of Tom Iredale with an Index of his Scientific Names', The Australian Zoologist, 12 (1956), 211-250. Details
  • Ward, M., 'In Appreciation of Tom Iredale', Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, 89 (1968), 57-58. Details
  • Whitley, G. P., 'Life and Work of Tom Iredale (1880-1972) [includes lists of writings and proposed new names of species]', Australian Zoologist, 17 (2) (1972), 65-125. Details


See also

  • Mattingley, Christobel, Seen but Not Heard: Lilian Medland's Birds (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2014), 207 pp. Details
  • 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.