A.J. Campbell Collection




The A.J. Campbell photographic Collection came into Museum Victoria's care on 22 December 1915 and forms part of a much larger holding which includes 1,884 specimens and an archive of letters, manuscripts, photographs, notes and sketches. In the early 1990s the collection was separated into two areas: the archival material (which generally relates to Campbell's ornithological activities) and the specimens are placed in the Ornithology Department, and the photographs and glass negatives were registered into the History and Technology Collection.

The A.J. Campbell photographic collection came into Museum Victoria's care on 22 December 1915 and forms part of a much larger holding. This collection consists of 2,772 images taken by Archibald James Campbell, which are a combination of black and white prints and glass negatives. Campbell used many of these images in his book 'Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds, including the Geographical Distribution of the Species and Popular Observations Thereon', published in 1900. Archibald James Campbell was born on 18 February 1853 at Fitzroy, Victoria. He was the son of Archibald Campbell and Catherine, née Pinkerton, both of Glasgow, Scotland, who came to Australia in 1840. After studying at a private school in Melbourne, Campbell entered the Victorian civil service in 1869. He spent his adult life as a customs officer and retired in 1914.Campbell's interest in nature first became apparent as a child when he lived with his grandparents in Werribee until the age of 10. His was passionate about egg-collecting and his interest in birds was further inspired by studying the artwork of John Gould.For many years, Campbell played an active role in the Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria. By 1896 his collection of eggs represented 500 species. Campbell initiated the first of several dinners which led to the formation in 1901 of the (Royal) Australasian Ornithologists' Union; he was president in 1909 and 1928 and co-editor of its journal, 'The Emu', for thirteen years.In the 1890s he contributed a series of articles on Australian birds to 'The Australasian' and in 1905 was a founder of the Bird Observers' Club. In quest of eggs and bird-lore he travelled throughout Australia, often under rough conditions. He scientifically described and named over thirty Australian birds; only a few of these names have resisted synonymy. He published papers on eggs in the 'Southern Science Record', the 'Victorian Naturalist' and the 'Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria'; one of which was read at the International Ornithological Congress at Budapest in 1891. These papers formed the basis for his major and still useful 'Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds' (1900), in an edition of 600 copies published in both one and two volumes. Many of the images of birds and nests used in this publication belong to the A.J. Campbell photographic collection held by Museum Victoria. His pioneer egg collection, made when custom divided sets of eggs for exchange rather than preserved them as full clutches, was later presented to the National Museum of Victoria, now Museum Victoria. These specimens and associated archives are now held in the museum's Ornithology Department.Campbell was elected a colonial member of the British Ornithologists' Union and an honorary fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union. He was a keen conservationist, showing concern for disappearing species, and a pioneer bird-photographer (having photographed Lesser Noddies as early as 1889). A lover of acacias, he was founder in 1899 of the Victorian Wattle Club (later League). He helped organise spring excursions on the 1 September each year into the bush surrounding Melbourne, which evolved into the first 'national' Wattle Day, celebrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on 1 September 1910.

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1895-1905; Aboriginal People; Acacias (Fabaceae); Australian Native Animals; Australian Native Birds; Beaches; Bird Eggs; Birds; Blossoms; Boats; Bridges; Bushes; Camp Fires; Camp Sites; Camping; Cattle; Coastal Landscapes; Coastlines; Creeks; Dogs; Domestic Animals; Droughts; Eggs; Emus; Eucalypts; Farm Animals; Fences; Fern Trees; Ferns; Fishing; Fishing equipment; Floods; Forests; Gardens; Gorges; Hills; Horsedrawn Vehicles; Horses; Houses; Huts; Insects; Islands; Jetties; Lakes; Landscape photography; Landscapes; Lighthouses; Mountains; Muttonbirds; National Museum of Victoria; Native Plants; Natural Environment; Natural Environments; Natural history; Natural sciences; Nests; Orchids; Ornithology; Photography; Portraits; Rain Forests; Rivers; Rookeries; Rural Landscapes; Shipwrecks; Snakes; Spiders; Swamps; Tents; Trees; Verandahs; Waterfalls; Wattle Day; Wattle Trees

Coverage Spatial

Flinders Island, Bass Strait, Tasmania, Australia; Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Austalia; Werribee, Victoria, Austalia; Upper Yarra Valley, Victoria, Austalia; Phillip Island, Victoria, Austalia; Victoria, Australia; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland, Australia; Great Barrier Reef, Dunk Island, Queensland, Australia; Dunk Island, Queensland, Australia; Green Island, Queensland, Australia; Riverina, New South Wales, Australia; Kangaroo Island, South Australia, Australia; Bass Strait, Tasmania, Australia; King Island, Bass Strait, Tasmania, Australia; Australia

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