The National Library Magazine

Our quarterly magazine
December 2010

The National Library Magazine coverOn the cover:

The first scientific descriptions of New Holland animals included words such as ‘extraordinary’, ‘remarkable’, ‘peculiar’, ‘curious’ and ‘singular’. Compared with creatures of the known world, Australia’s fauna was indeed extraordinary. One such creature was the Australian Brush-Turkey, which ornithologist John Latham initially named the New Holland Vulture in 1821, having been fooled by the lack of feathers on its neck. He had to correct his assessment later, noting, amongst other things, that the bird had too many tail feathers to be a vulture. In the 1840s, John Gould described the remarkable way in which the bird laid its eggs inside a huge mound of vegetable matter—such a means of incubation was a revelation to Victorian England. Read more about early European impressions of Australia’s curious animals.

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