When the first British visitors arrived on Australia's shores at the end of the eighteenth century, it was not only the potential of its space that tantalised them, but the extraordinary living things that they found there. Every European collector worth his salt desired a kangaroo, a parakeet, a waratah, and ship after ship sailed north loaded with Australia's remarkable natural history specimens. In 1826, the most serious collector to make his own trip to the antipodes arrived - his name was Alexander Macleay, and over 70 years he and his family accumulated an unbelievably rich and diverse collection of specimens from Australia itself and beyond. Museum throws open the doors of a historically rich and rare collection, stunningly captured in the images of Robyn Stacey. It reclaims the stories of those specimens, and those obsessions, revealing another chapter of Australia's own very particular, passionate and unique history.
Robyn Stacey is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication, Design and Media at the University of Western Sydney. She is one of Australia's most acclaimed photographers and has exhibited her photographic work in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia and internationally since the mid-1980s to high critical acclaim. Her work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, all state galleries in Australia and Art Bank, as well as in university and private collections, both here and abroad. Ashley Hay has written two books of narrative non-fiction, The Secret: The Strange Marriage of Annabella Milbanke and Lord Byron (Duffy and Snellgrove, 2000), and Gum: The Story of Eucalypts and Their Champions (Duffy and Snellgrove, 2002). She has also published essays and short fiction and works for The Bulletin.
Introduction; 1. Invertebrates; 2. Acknowledgements, 1. Essays Ashley Hay (In the Beginning, In the Old World, In the New World, William John Macleay, In the Museum); 2. Plates Robyn Stacey (Entomology, Expedition, Exotics, Education); 3. Collection Notes Macleay Museum; Notes; Bibliography; Index.