Guide to the Papers of Sir William Flower (as filmed by AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Flower, William H., Sir, 1851-1899
Papers of Sir William Flower (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
5 November 1886 - 26 June 1891
Collection Number
16 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Correspondence with naturalists relating to Flower's work as Director of the British Museum (Natural History). Subjects include difficulties in obtaining Pacific Islands skulls. Main correspondents are W. Saville Kent of Hobart, Alfred Corrie of HMS Pelican and Henry Forbes of Christchurch.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the British Museum (Natural History), London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1993 (AJCP Reels: M2843). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Formerly known as British Museum (Natural History), the Museum Natural History Museum changed its name in 1992.

Existence and Location of Originals

Archives Section, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, England.

Collection Reference: DF 932. For further information, see Archives at the Natural History Museum. []

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2018. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.

Advisory Statement

Australian Aboriginal, Maori and Pacific Islander people are advised that this Finding Aid contains material and descriptive information which may be considered culturally sensitive and may cause distress, including names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. This Finding Aid contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.


Christchurch, New Zealand; Corrie, Alfred; Flower, Sir William; Great Britain; Kent, W. Saville; Naturalists; New Zealand; Pacific Islands; Pelican, HMS (ship)


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 172, p.63.

Biographical / Historical

Sir William H. Flower was educated at University College, London and was assistant Surgeon with the 63rd regiment during the Crimean War. He was conservator of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, 1861-1884 and Hunterian Professor of Comparative Anatomy, 1870-1884. He was Director of the British Museum (Natural History) 1884-1898.

Item Descriptions

Series DF 932. Sir William H. Flower. Semi Official Papers, 5 November 1886 - 26 June 1891

16 items

All letters to Flower, unless noted.

Filmed selectively.

T.J. Parker (Dunedin), 5 November 1886 (File 15)

Pleased that a skeleton he has sent will be in the National Collection.

Julius von Haast (Germany), 9 February 1887 (File 28)

Re his health; travel plans; situation in Germany.

Alfred Corrie (Pelican, Pacific Station), 10 February 1887 (File 29)

Re sail round south sea islands; difficulty in getting skulls 'most of the natives are getting so civilised that they are horrified at the idea of preserving them for you'(8p. poor condition.)

Alfred Corrie (Pelican, Pacific Station), 2 May 1887 (File 39)

Re skulls from Marquesa Islands; Sandwich Islands 'the natives are so particular now about disturbing the graves'.

W. Saville Kent (Hobart), 1 October 1887 (File 57)

Re native skull dug out of sandbank at Spring Bay, East Coast; sending specimen of Giant Crab and native sponge; the new Tasmanian government; his job in the Fisheries Department; success of oyster cultivation.

Flower to Saville Kent, 19 December 1887 (File 60)

Re visit from Mrs Saville Kent; 'the cranium, though a fragment, is of much interest, and of quite characteristic form of the Tasmanian native'. (Very faint pressed copy).

E. Ramsay (Sydney), 22 February 1889 (File 84)

Re problems identifying a skull of Thylacoleo.

Henry Ridley (Singapore), 15 May 1889 (File 99)

Re problems collecting plants; his work on orchids.

Alex Morton (Hobart), 5 November 1889 (File 105)

Re his position as curator at Tasmanian Museum.

W. Saville Kent (Brisbane), 18 February 1890 (File 114)

Introducing Mrs L.A. Meredith of Tasmania; he is now working as Commissioner of Fisheries for Queensland Government; visits to pearl shell fisheries of Torres Straits.

Henry Forbes (Christchurch), 21 February 1890 (File 115)

Re work in cave 'evidence of co-existence of Moa and Maori'.

Henry Forbes (Christchurch), 17 September 1890 (File 116)

Re discovery of fossil snout of a species of Mesoplodon.

T.J. Parker (Dunedin), 12 June 1890 (File 121)

Requesting his attendance at meeting of Australasian Association at Christchurch.

E.C. Stirling (Adelaide), 12 January 1891 (File 134)

Re his work on burrowing marsupials he has called Psammoryctes.

W. Saville Kent (Brisbane), 27 January 1891 (File 140)

Sending photographs of coral reefs and coral animals; his work as Fisheries Officer.

R. Etheridge (Sydney), 1891-[06?]-26 (File 150)

Re Anderson Stuart's application for F.R.S.