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Biographical entry Fletcher, Jane Ada (Ada) (1870 - 1956)

18 September 1870
Penshurst, Victoria, Australia
15 April 1956
Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania, Australia
Ornithologist and Poet


Jane Fletcher, the daughter of Price Fletcher, the 'Bush Naturalist' of Queensland, published a number of books on nature and nature study and broadcast on 7ZL Hobart and 3LO Melbourne. In 1934 she became the first woman to lecture to the Royal Society of Tasmania. She was an outstanding bird observer with a particular interest in crakes and rails.


Worked on an aunt's farm, Wilmot, north-western Tasmania 1892-96; teacher of sewing (initially without pay), West Kentish primary school 1896-99; qualified as a head teacher 1899 and appointed to set up a school at Upper Wilmot; later taught at Cleveland (Tasmania), Springfield, Woodbridge and Forcett; opened part of her house at Eaglehawk Neck as a Youth Hostel after retirement. Undertook fieldwork for Gregory Mathews (q.v.) until 1936. First woman to deliver a lecture to the Royal Society of Tasmania, of which she was a member, in 1934. Foundation member 1901 and life member 1945, (Royal) Australasian Ornithologists' Union. Writer of a number of children's books, including Stories from Nature (London, 1915) and Little Brown Piccaninnies of Tasmania (Sydney, 1950), her most popular children's book. Also wrote books and articles for adults on Tasmanian history, Aborigines and ornithology, her final book being Tasmania's Own Birds (1956).

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection, State Library of Queensland

  • Jane Ada Fletcher - Records, 1900 - 1939, OM67-2; John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection, State Library of Queensland. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Marcus, Julie, Lepervanche, Marie de, McBryde, Isabel, Prior, Mary Ellen Murray, White, Isobel; Morris, Miranda; O'Gorman, Anne; Marcus, Julie and Cheater, Christine, First in Their Field: Women and Australian Anthropology (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1993). Details

Book Sections


See also

  • Alexander, John A. ed., Who's Who in Australia 1944, vol. 12 (Melbourne: The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, 1944), 906 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. & Rosanne Walker