Before Slater: A history of field guides to Australian birds to 1970

McGregor, Russell (2022) Before Slater: A history of field guides to Australian birds to 1970. Australian Field Ornithology, 39. pp. 125-138.

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This article traces the evolution of field guides to Australian birds from the first in 1911 up to the publication of Peter Slater’s ground-breaking guide to non-passerines in 1970. The classic guides, John Leach’s An Australian Bird Book (1911) and Neville Cayley’s What Bird Is That? (1931), receive due attention, but I also scrutinise the many more guides to specific parts of Australia and particular avian families and orders that were published over those six decades. I set the development of Australian field guides in international context, with particular attention to the works of the American, Roger Tory Peterson, whose influence is apparent in many of the guides of more restricted scope, but not in the reissues of the classics by Leach and Cayley. Innovation in Australian field guides is also contextualised within the broader transformations of birding practice over the period under consideration. Field guides were among the drivers of those transformations, while at the same time being shaped by them.

Item ID: 75777
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2206-3447
Keywords: ornithology; field guides; history of science; environmental history
Copyright Information: This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2022 02:45
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history @ 50%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430307 Environmental history @ 50%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past @ 100%
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