Continent of Curiosities: A Journey Through Australian Natural History

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 11, 2006 - History - 212 pages
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Collecting curiosities was a gentlemanly occupation for wealthy and educated 18th-century Europeans. Few creatures aroused more curiosity than those from Australia. But collections demand organisation, and classification itself reveals patterns to life that cannot be ignored. From a leisurely occupation, the science of biology was born. Cabinets de curiosites became national museums, with specimens from Australia playing an integral role in all kinds of biological debates. Australian museums now foster their own research and continue to provide major and sometimes unexpected perspectives to international scientific developments. Continent of Curiosities follows the thread of individual natural history stories through the scientists of one of Australia's oldest museums, Museum Victoria. Together, these stories weave a history of the development of biological science from an Australian perspective, with insights into the people and places that influence the way we see and understand the natural world around us.

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About the author (2006)

Danielle Clode is science writer, zoologist and researcher. Since completing her doctorate at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, she has been based in the Department of Zoology at the University of Melbourne. Continents of Curiosities: A Journey through Natural History (Cambridge University Press, 2006), was inspired by the collections at Museum Victoria, where Danielle worked with curators as a scientific interpreter. She wrote Continents of Curiosities as the Thomas Ramsay Science and Humanities Fellow at the museum. Her first book, Killers in Eden (2001), investigated co-operative hunting between killer whales and whalers on the New South Wales south coast and was turned into an award winning ABC-TV documentary. She has also published a history of Victoria's Land Conservation Council, As If For a Thousand Years (2006). Voyages To The South Seas tells the story of French naturalists in Australia and won the 2007 Victorian Premier's Award for non fiction. Her latest book, Prehistoric Giants, is an accessible account of Australian megafauna. Danielle continues to combine her interest in scientific history with a diverse range of research, editing and teaching, and is currently writing a book on bushfires.

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