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Biographical entry Harslett, Morwenna Jean (Jean) (1925 - )

6 September 1925
Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia
Natural history collector and Historian


Jean Harslett is a nationally recognised historian and collector. She has spent most of her time collecting flora and fauna of the Glen Aplin district in Queensland and writing about the regions history. Her father Alex Gemmell was a well known insect collector too and after his death Harslett took over his vast collection which contained many jewel beetles. She also developed a passion for jewel beetles as well as butterflies, birds and native orchids. Her knowledge of the plant and animal life in the Glen Aplin region is unsurpassed. Harslett's specimens can be found in entomological collections around Australia including with the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation).

Jean Harslett was a founder of the Stanthorpe Field Naturalist's Club, a prominent conservationist and a local history expert having written widely on all three areas. In 2004 on 7 March the Jean Harslett Research Centre was opened at the Stanthorpe & District Historical Museum in Queensland. The centre houses over 16,000 photographs of her photographs as well as research into local families' histories and the development of the region.



Award - British Empire Award received
Career position - Paul Harris Fellow (Rotary International)
1994 -
Award - Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland
Award - Queensland Naturalist Award received
2002 -
Award - Honorary Life Membership of Queensland Entomological Society

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


Annette Alafaci