Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove


  • Where are the Women in Australian Science?

Biographical entry Davies, Valerie Ethel (1920 - 2012)

29 September 1920
Wanganui, New Zealand
29 November 2012
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Arachnologist, Museum curator and Zoologist
Alternative Names
  • Todd, Valeria Ethel (maiden name)


Valerie Davies was appointed Curator of Arachnids at the Queensland Museum in 1972. She built up the collection by organising and attending numerous expeditions and systematically sorted and identified each specimen herself. Her research interest lay in tiny litter species in minor families. Davies has authored over forty publications including Australian spiders (Araneae): collection, preservation and identification (1986). She described over 150 new species, 17 genera and the family Malkaridae, and the spider genus Toddiana and 15 species were named in her honour.



Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at Otago University in New Zealand
Education - Master of Science with Honours (MSc (Hons)) completed at Otago University, New Zealand
1943 - 1944
Career position - Research Assistant in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Otago, New Zealand
1944 - 1945
Career position - Assistant Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Otago in New Zealand
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) completed at Somerville College, Oxford, UK
1962 - 1963
Career position - Nuffield Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago, New Zealand
1964 - 1972
Career position - Tutor in the Department of Zoology (part-time) at the University of Queensland
1972 - 1974
Career position - Curator of Arachnids at the Queensland Museum
1974 - 1978
Career position - Research Curator at the Queensland Museum
1976 - 1985
Career position - Honorary Consultant for the Department of Entomology at the University of Queensland
1978 - 1981
Career position - Deputy-Chair, Queensland Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee
1978 - 1985
Career position - Senior Curator at the Queensland Museum
Career position - Participant in Expedition Wanderlust to Hinchinbrook Island
Life event - Retired
1985 - 2002
Career position - Honorary Associate, Queensland Museum
Award - Queensland Museum Medal
1989 - 1992
Career position - Vice-President of the Centre Internationale Documentaire Arachnologique
Career position - Secretary, XII International Congress of Arachnology, Brisbane
Life event - Settled in Australia
Award - Lifetime Achievement Award, International Society of Arachnology

Related Corporate Bodies

  • Queensland Museum

    Curator of Arachnids (later Senior Curator) 1972 - 1985; awarded the Museum's Medal 1988

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Edited Books

  • McKay, Judith ed., Brilliant Careers: Women Collectors and Illustrators in Queensland (Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 1997), 80 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Davies, Rosemary and Monteith, Geoff, 'Obituary: Valerie Ethel (Todd) Davies (1920 - 2012)', Australasian arachnology, 85 (2013), 8-13. Details

Newspaper Articles


See also

Ailie Smith and Helen Cohn