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Biographical entry Bartholomai, Alan (1938 - 2015)


17 December 1938
Boonah, Queensland, Australia
17 December 2015
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Museum administrator and Vertebrate palaeontologist


Alan Bartholomai was Director of the Queensland Museum for 30 years and a palaeontologist renowned particularly as an authority on Cretaceous fish. As Director he oversaw the relocation of Museum, the re-establishment of the Museum's Board (in abeyance since 1907), and the creation of regional branches. He fostered research programs that significantly expanded the recording and understanding Queensland's biodiversity, palaeontological record and cultural heritage. Bartholomai's wider role in Australia's museums included serving on such bodies as the Advisory Committee on Illegal Movement of Cultural Property and the committee for establishing the National Maritime Museum of Australia. In his palaeontological research Bartholomai worked with colleagues on Cenozoic marsupials, fossil turtles, and Triassic vertebrates from Western Australia. With Ralph Molnar he described the Australian dinosaur Muttaburrasaurus. In retirement he returned to his research on the fish faunas of the Great Australian Basin. Many of the groups for which he produced major reviews had not previously been recorded from the southern hemisphere and hence provided insights into the palaeogeography of Cretaceous fish faunas.



Education - BSc, University of Queensland
1960 - 1966
Career position - Curator of Geology, Queensland Museum Curator of Geology, Queensland Museum
1966 - 1968
Career position - Research Curator (Geology), Queensland Museum
Education - MSc, University of Queensland
1969 - 1999
Career position - Member, Council of Australian Museum Directors
1969 - 1999
Career position - Director, Queensland Museum
Career position - President, Royal Society of Queensland
Education - PhD, University of Queensland
1985 - 1987
Career position - Chairman, Council of Australian Museum Directors
1994 - 1999
Career position - Member of the Board, CRC for Tropical Rainforest and Ecology and Management
1999 - 2015
Career position - Emeritus Director, Queensland Museum
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to the advancement of science, particularly through administrative roles with the Queensland Museum

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Anon, 'Obituary of Dr Alan Bartholomai 1938 - 2015', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 122 (2017), 113. Details
  • Rozefelds, Andrew C. F., 'In memoriam Alan Bartholomai (1938 - 2015)', Memoirs of the Queensland Museum: Nature, 60 (2017), 119-31. Details


Helen Cohn