Skip navigation
Skip navigation

On such a full sea : John MacGillivray (1821-1867)

Jensen, Sophie Alice

Description

This thesis examines the life of the naturalist and collector John MacGillivray (1821-1867). MacGillivray's name is woven through the narratives and accounts of nineteenth century collecting and exploration in Australia. His presence as a private collector for the Earl of Derby on board HMS Fly (1842-1846) and official naturalist aboard HMS Rattlesnake (1846-1850) and HMS Herald (1852-1855), mean that few could have rivalled his levels of knowledge and experience as a collector and ethnographer...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorJensen, Sophie Alice
dc.date.accessioned2018-09-03T00:35:36Z
dc.date.available2018-09-03T00:35:36Z
dc.date.copyright2010
dc.identifier.otherb2551056
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/147043
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the life of the naturalist and collector John MacGillivray (1821-1867). MacGillivray's name is woven through the narratives and accounts of nineteenth century collecting and exploration in Australia. His presence as a private collector for the Earl of Derby on board HMS Fly (1842-1846) and official naturalist aboard HMS Rattlesnake (1846-1850) and HMS Herald (1852-1855), mean that few could have rivalled his levels of knowledge and experience as a collector and ethnographer of Australian and Pacific material in the mid nineteenth century. Despite his presence on these three key voyages; despite his energy as a collector of birds, eggs, language, ethnographic material, plants, shells and animals; despite his collections being held in museums throughout Australia and England; despite his highly-regarded two-volume account ofthe voyage of the Rattlesnake; a full account of MacGillivray's life has never been written. The reasons for MacGillivray's neglect revolve around his dismissal, in disgrace, from HMS Herald in 1855. With reputation in tatters and career within the official scientific institutions and networks in Britain effectively over, he disappeared from the records and slipped quietly into anonymity. This thesis reveals that MacGillivray's career was far from over. His final twelve years are examined for the first time, detailing the life of a talented freelance collector and adventurer in Australia and the south-west Pacific. MacGillivray's misfortune led him into rich territory both for himself and for his biographer. His disreputable wanderings led him into the seedy world of sandalwood collecting, the flourishing missions of the south-west Pacific, the complex trading networks along the Australian coastline and throughout the Torres Strait and the burgeoning scientific scene in New South Wales. His activities on the fringes of the British Empire placed him, both physically and conceptually, within the complex and contested space of the colonial frontier. Charting this new territory has required sources not previously used. The discovery of articles written by MacGillivray for the Sydney Press sheds new light on him and his environment. Journals documenting his life on board the trading vessel Julia Percy provide insight to his most intriguing and certainly most dangerous period. While it is argued that MacGillivray's life warrants more attention than it has previously been given, this thesis does not aim to establish MacGillivray as a model of scientific achievement or of solid character. It is in his failings that he serves best as a lens through which the social and scientific spheres he inhabited can be examined. He was a man of ability, not necessarily originality. He was intelligent and knowledgeable without being brilliant. His inability to break free of the systems of natural history thought and collecting that had shaped his career constrained him to a marginal role in the great scientific developments that surrounded him. Nonetheless this examination of his life makes a significant contribution to understanding the life of a collector during the 1850s and 1860s, to our understanding of life on colonial frontiers and the workings of the British Empire, along and within, these marginal spaces.
dc.format.extentix, 339 leaves.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.subject.lccQH31.M33 J46 2010
dc.subject.lcshMacGillivray, John, 1821-1867
dc.subject.lcshNaturalists BiographyScotland
dc.subject.lcshNaturalists BiographyAustralia
dc.titleOn such a full sea : John MacGillivray (1821-1867)
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
dcterms.valid2010
local.description.notesThesis (Ph.D.)--Australian National University, 2010
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2010
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d63c460158e4
dc.date.updated2018-08-27T03:43:46Z
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

Download

File Description SizeFormat Image
b25510563_Sophie_Alice_Jensen.pdf300.61 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail


Items in Open Research are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Updated:  19 May 2020/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator