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Biographical entry Leach, John Albert (1870 - 1929)

19 March 1870
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
3 October 1929
Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Naturalist, Teacher and Ornithologist
Alternative Names
  • Leach, John Arthur (Also known as)


John Leach was Assistant Chief Inspector of Primary Schools for the Victorian Education Department 1924-1929. He was an enthusiastic ornithologist producing the popular work An Australian Bird Book.


Born Ballarat West, Victoria, 19 March 1870. Died Richmond, Victoria, 3 October 1929. Educated Melbourne Training College (trained teachers certificate 1890) and University of Melbourne (BSc 1904, MSc 1906, DSc 1912). Brief teaching appointments Mount Prospect and Footscray State schools 1890, head-teacher, Goyura 1891; Bairnsdale 1892-1908; Moormung (Rosehill) State School 1898-1904; conducted evening classes in physics at Moormung and went on to lecture to Workers' Education Association, being a member of the University extension board for 25 years and secretary of it for seven years; Education Department's visiting teacher of nature study 1904; teacher of nature study and geography, Melbourne Continuation (High) School 1905; lecturer in nature study and botany, Training College1905-06; organising inspector of nature study 1907-20, senior inspector of schools 1920-24, assistant chief inspector from 1924. Contributed monthly articles to the Education Gazette on natural history subjects 1905-19. Gave weekly radio talks on natural history from the mid-1920s. President, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1922-24; editor, Emu 1914-24, 1928-29; convener, RAOU Checklist Committee during the production of a revised edition of the Official Checklist of the Birds of Australia (1926); president, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria 1912-14; Colonial Member, British Ornithologists' Union; Corresponding Fellow, American Ornithologists' Union. Helped to found the Gould League of Bird Lovers 1909, and introduced both it and Bird Day to Victorian schools. Wrote An Australian Bird Book (1911) and "Australian Nature Studies (1922). In 1930 members of his nature-study classes formed the Leach Memorial Club, which met monthly for many years.


1922 - 1924
Career position - President, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union

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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