J. A. Leach's Australian Bird Book: at the interface of science and recreation

McGregor, Russell (2022) J. A. Leach's Australian Bird Book: at the interface of science and recreation. Historical Records of Australian Science, 33 (2). pp. 97-109.

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Abstract

An Australian Bird Book by J. A. Leach, published in 1911, was the first field guide to Australia's avifauna. Unlike today's field guides, it was not tightly focussed on identification, instead devoting more than half its words to an expansive dissertation on the natural history of birds. This article scrutinises and contextualises Leach's Bird Book to illuminate some of the interconnections between science, birdwatching, recreation and conservation in early twentieth-century Australia. It shows how Leach's heavy weighting on natural history was integral to his promotion of birdwatching as an edifying recreation that would lead people not merely to be able to name the birds they saw but also, more importantly, to understand, cherish and protect them.

Item ID: 74885
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-5508
Keywords: Australian nationalism, birdwatching, conservation, field guides, natural history, nature study, ornithology, popular science, recreation
Copyright Information: © 2022 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of Australian Academy of Science. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND)
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2022 07:31
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history @ 100%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past @ 100%
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