Guide to the Collections of the British Museum (Natural History), Sub-Department of Ornithology Library (as filmed by the AJCP)


M2339 - M2342

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

British Museum (Natural History). Sub-department of Ornithology Library
Natural History Museum: Collections of the Sub-Department of Ornithology Library (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1908 - 1986
Collection Number
M2339 - M2342
17 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, official documents, notes, press cuttings, minutes and memoranda concerning birds in Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea, Plumage (Prohibition) Bill 1914 and importation of plumage.

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, 1988 (AJCP Reels: M2339-M2342). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

The Natural History Museum was formerly a section of the British Museum and was known as the British Museum (Natural History).

Existence and Location of Originals

Natural History Museum, Hertfordshire, England.

For more information see: Library and 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 2019. 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.

Pieces that were not filmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project have not been included in this Finding Aid.

This Finding Aid retains the identifiers present at the time it was filmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project. The new control numbers applied by the Natural History Museum have been identified where possible.


Australia; Australia: flora and fauna; Birds: Australia; Birds: New Zealand; Birds: Papua New Guinea; Great Britain; Great Britain: laws; New Zealand; New Zealand: flora and fauna; Ornithologists; Papua New Guinea: flora and fauna; Rothschild, Lionel W , 2nd Baron


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 70, p24.

Biographical / Historical

The Museum at Tring was built at the end of the last century to house the large zoological collections and library of Lionel Walter, 2nd Baron Rothschild. He bequeathed his museum to the nation in 1938 and it now forms an annex to the British Museum (Natural History). In 1971 the Natural History Museum's Sub-department of Ornithology and national bird collections were transferred from South Kensington to Tring.

Item Descriptions

Series. David Bishop

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2339.

Papua New Guinea Birds: checklist (16 leaves) (File)

Series. Plumage, 1908 - 1937

11 items

Collection of documents, including letters and official government reports concerning the destruction of plumage birds in the British Empire. (4 box files. c1083p.)

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reels M2339-M2341.

Miscellaneous items, 1909 - 1914 (File Box 1)

Comprises: Catalogue of items for public sale by J. Figgins & Co., quality fancy feathers, 1913;

Draft bills to prohibit the sale or exchange of the plumage or skins of certain wild birds 1910-1914;

leaflets by Royal Society for Protection of Birds, c1913; Australian Government Gazette, 17 May 1913 prohibiting export of certain skins (p.1354 only);

The Plumage bill in relation to the British Empire by James Buckland R.C.I. nd.;

Bird laws of India and of our dominions and colonies by J. Buckland 1910?;

Memo on protection by Waiter Rothschild 1910;

Colonial Office Laws Protecting Birds in British Dominions, Colonies and Protectorates 1911;

British Museum (Natural History) list of birds requiring protection: Samoa or Navigator's Islands 1910;

List of birds requiring protection in certain British Colonies and protectorates by W.R. Ogilvie-Grant, London, BM(NH) 1910, (Filmed selectively. title page, preface, contents and pp. 20-41). The Plumage Bill and what it means, by James Buckland, R.C.I 1914;

Royal Society for Protection of Birds. The story of the Egret in seven scenes; photographed by A.H.E. Mattingley of Australian Ornithologist's Union at Riverina NSW 1909. Miscellaneous correspondence, notes and press cuttings.


Colonial Office Destruction of plumage birds: Correspondence (73p.), 1910 - 1911 (File Box 1)

Correspondence between the Colonial Office, British Museum (Natural History), James Buckland, W. Rothschild, London Chamber of Commerce, and includes copy of petition signed by Wray Palliser, High Commissioner of New Zealand and C.H. Reid, High Commissioner of Australia.

Colonial Office Destruction of plumage birds. Minutes. 1st-10th meeting (16p.), 1910 - 1912 (File Box 1)

Plumage (Prohibition) Bill, 1914 (File Box 1)

Resolution in support of the Hobhouser Bill; Summary of sale of plumage on 10 June 1913; Correspondence; Notes; Copy of draft bill 1914. (22p.)

Destruction of birds and game preservation: Newspaper cuttings from The Times (15p.), 1910 - 1911 (File Box 1)

Legislation Files: Importation of Plumage, 1908 - 1937 (File Box 2)


Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Importation of plumage prohibition bill together with proceedings of the committee and proceedings. HMSO, (1908) (47p.). Includes evidence of Colonel Charles Ryan, President of Ornithological Union of Australia pp. 32-34.

Acts and bills to prohibit the importation of plumage (1910-1921). (31p.)

The birds of our colonies and their protection by James Buckland, R.C.I. (1910) (13p.)

The government plumage bill and The Plume question in a nutshell, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (1913), (8p. and 4p.)

Colonial Office. Inter-departmental Conference on the Destruction of Plumage Birds. Minutes of evidence (27 Feb.-15 March 1911, March 1911). (34p.)

Conference on Destruction of Plumage Birds. Minutes, correspondence and memoranda (1910). (c45p.)

British Museum (Natural History) memoranda and notes for a display in the Central Hall of plumage (1920), (12p.)

Correspondence and notes (c.1920-1937), (69p.) Includes: copies of correspondence with Official Secretary, Australia House re Mutton Bird, 1935, and two memoranda on the Sooty Shear-water or New Zealand Mutton Bird and The Australian Mutton Bird.

Press cuttings (1920-1928). (19p.)


Bills and acts prohibiting importation of plumage.

Notices of public meetings.

Correspondence, Miscellaneous notes, notes on Birds of Paradise, consequences of exterminating the birds of small islands, press cuttings (c.1920s). (68p.)

Legislation Files (Plumage): Publications, 1911 - 1914 (File Box 3)

19 items

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M2341

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: Feathers and Facts: a reply to the feather trade and review of facts with reference to the persecution of birds for their plumage. (74p.), 1911 (Item)
Traffic in Bird's plumage, (8p.), 1914 (Item)
Duty of England towards wild birds. (10p.), 1914 (Item)
Wild birds and their protection The Englishwoman, (pp. 1-6), July [year illegible] (Item)
Birds of Fashion by S.L. Bensusan. Strand Magazine, (pp.72-77), January 1914 (Item)
What England says about the Plumage Trade. (2p.), n.d. (Item)
The Plumage Bill: Why it should be opposed. (4p.), n.d. (Item)
Why the Plumage Bill should be opposed. (4p.), n.d. (Item)
The Fight for the birds Fortnightly Review, (pp.521-533), March 1914 (Item)

Legislation Files (Plumage): Official Publications, 17 June 1920 (File Box 3)

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M2341

Committee on importation of plumage (prohibition) bill Minutes. (11p.), 17 June 1920 (Item)

Miscellaneous, 1920 - 23 February 1921 (File Box 3)

5 items

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M2341

Press cuttings; correspondence; memoranda. (35p.) (Item)
Plumage Letters, 1920 (Item)

Includes: notes on Egrets; Press Cuttings; Letters to W.P. Pycroft (British Museum (Natural History from H.J. Massingham, Plumage Bill Group, London and Linda Gardiner, Royal Society for Protection of Birds and others. (32p.)

Egret Farming (Item)

Memoranda and correspondence on egrets including letter 30 Oct. 1920 J. Baker, Ostrich and Fancy Feather Trade Association to Edward Clodd re Birds of Paradise enclosing leaflet The Facts of the plumage tradeā€¦a word to women. 1920 4p. 1920's. (c.80p.)

Plumage Bill 1921: Conferences, 17 November 1920 - 23 February 1921 (Item)

Report and Resolutions of Conferences on the plumage trade held at British Museum (Natural History). (13p.)

Legislation Files: Correspondence and papers relating to Plumage, 1910 - 1984 (File Box 4)

7 items

Archival history

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M2341-M2342

Proof copy with manuscript alteration of The Traffic in bird's plumage. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (8p.), 1914 (Item)
Letters to W.R. Ogilvie-Grant from R.E. Stubbs re Conference on destruction of plumage birds (60p.), 1911 - 1912 (Item)

Includes copies of Atlee Hunt, Melbourne, to R. Muirhead Collins, Australia House, re prohibition of bird skins in Australia.

Miscellaneous correspondence to Ogilvie Grant from Royal Society for Protection of Birds (7p.), 1914 (Item)
Proof Copy of Royal Society for Protection of Birds Annual Report, 1913 (Item)

Archival History

Although more material was listed, only p.1-2 only on plumage trade were filmed by the AJCP.

Folder of press cuttings (15p.), 1910 - 1914 (Item)

Series Box 4. RAF Ornithological Society Expedition to Brunei, 1984

1 item

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2341.

RAF Ornithological Society expedition May-June 1984 by Major David Counsell. (34p.), May 1984 - June 1984 (File)

(Tring 77 AC)

Includes lists of specimens, observations, maps, notes and general description of the expedition.

Series Box 4. Dominic L. Serventy, 1970

1 item

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2341.

Biology of Desert Birds (124p.), 1970 (File)

Duplicated typescript.

(Tring MSS S).

Author was on the staff of the CSIRO, Wembly Western Australia: and he includes many examples from Australian deserts. Also letter to Serventy, Helena Valley, Western Australia, from Ernst Mayr, Cambridge Massachussets, thanking him for a copy of the manuscript.

Series Box 4. S.W. Stalker, c.1909

1 item

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2342.

Three notebooks on birds of New Guinea (72p.; 79p.; 82p.), c.1909 (File)

Includes: Details of birds sighted, partial diary, list of stores and trade goods, report by C.W. De Vis Queensland Museum on Ethnological specimen collected in British New Guinea. 30 August, 1894 (printed sheet).

Related Materials

See also Oldfield Thomas Correspondence in the British Museum (Natural History) Mammal Section Miscellaneous list.

Biographical / Historical

William Stalker (1879-1910) drowned on 9 Jan. 1910 while taking part in the British Ornithologists Union's Expedition for Exploration of Central New Guinea.

Series Box 4. Charles M.N. White, 1986

1 item

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2342.

Birds of Wallacea (446p.), 1986 (File)

Typescript. Covers bird fauna of the Indo-Australian archipelago (term Wallacea proposed by Dickerson in 1928). Comprises habitat, annotated checklist of birds, systematic notes, bibliography, migrants from Australia; birds of Micronesia.

Series Box 4. R.C.S. Wray, n.d.

1 item

Filmed selectively.

7 original drawings


Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2342.

Heart of Cassowary, n.d. (File)