Portfolio: Dr Bob Green

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Ardent nature lover and conservationist, the aptly named Bob Green has added greatly to our knowledge of Tasmania’s wild life, and in the process taken brilliant photographs of some shy and rare species in the wild. In recognition of his lifetime of achievement in zoology he was was honoured by the University of Tasmania with the conferring of Doctor of Science, Honorias Causa in 1987.

Born in Launceston in 1925, Bob Green’s early years were spent on the family farm, ‘Middle Park’ at Antill Ponds, where an interest in and love of nature saw him join the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU) in 1946, later taking part in CSIRO’s Bird Banding Scheme and subsequently becoming Tasmania’s Regional Organiser for the scheme.

In 1953 he decided to take up wildlife photography and today more than one hundred of his photographs are part of the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife.

In 1959, Bob was appointed honorary ornithologist at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston and following the sale of his farm at Antill Ponds in 1960, joined the staff of the Museum, becoming permanent curator in 1962.

An ardent collector of historical items, artefacts and natural history material, he amassed, amongst other things, a large and well documented collection of Tasmanian bird eggs, some dating back to the beginning of the century — notably those of his grandfather Reginald H Green and of Arthur W Swindells which, along with his own collected under permit, formed probably the finest and best documented Tasmanian oological collection.

In 2002 this collection was donated to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

As a result of his extensive collecting activities at least eight new species of animal have been named after him, including two fish, a skink, a parasitic fly, a feather louse, three flea species and a mite, as well as a Tasmanian Scrubtit subspecies, Acanthornis magnus greenianus. Bob’s research on the breeding habits of sea birds took him to various offshore Tasmanian islands and also Western Samoa.

In 2005 Bob Green was awarded the W Roy Wheeler Medallion for Excellence in Field Ornithology, well earned recognition for his work in the field and the publication of more than 130 papers with subjects ranging from ornithology, Tasmanian mammals, snakes, frogs, skinks, mudfish to spiders and several editions of guide books on Tasmanian birds and mammals.

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