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Biographical entry Cullen, John Michael (Mike) (1927 - 2001)

14 December 1927
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
23 March 2001
Victoria, Australia
Ornithologist and Zoologist


John Michael (Mike) Cullen was an English born zoologist who became an expert on Australia's Little Penguins. From 1942 until 1976 he studied and worked at the University of Oxford, mostly with the Animal Behaviour Research Group. In 1975 when the Chair of Animal Behaviour at Oxford became available most expected Cullen to be appointed to the position. However, he was overlooked, but the following year was appointed Chair of Zoology at Australia's Monash University. Cullen took on his duties with gusto and even found time to work on his own projects, which included the research and conservation of Victoria's Little Penguins especially at Phillip Island and St Kilda. He was eventually appointed Emeritus Professor of Zoology at Monash but his life was cut short when he was killed in a car accident on his way to work.



1956 - 1968
Career position - Zoologist with the Animal Behaviour Group at Oxford University, UK
c. 1968 - 1975
Career position - Lecturer in Experimental Psychology and Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford University
1976 - 1988
Career position - Member of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union Field Investigation Committee
1976 - 1992
Career position - Professor and Chair of Zoology at Monash University in Clayton, Victoria
1979 - 1985
Career position - Supervised studies of distribution and breeding of Abbott's Booby on Christmas Island
1980 -
Career position - Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Phillip Island Penguin Reserve
1980 - 1999
Career position - Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Phillip Island Penguin Reserve
1983 - 1984
Career position - Secretary of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, Victorian branch
1985 - 1999
Career position - Member of the Phillip Island Nature Park Board of Management

Published resources


  • Robin, Libby, The Flight of the Emu: a Hundred Years of Australian Ornithology 1901-2001 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2001), 492 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Dann, Peter, 'Obituary: Professor J. Michael (Mike) Cullen, 1927-2001', Emu, 101 (3) (2001), 269 - 270. Details


Annette Alafaci