ASAP is about to undertake the detailed processing of a fascinating collection of records relating to the Le Souef family. This family had a strong tradition of natural history, demonstrated by their involvement, over three generations, in the running of many of Australia's Zoological Gardens and Societies.
Included in this collection are many glass negatives and lantern slides dating from the late nineteenth century to the nineteen-twenties. Some of these are family shots, but with the Le Souefs there is always a strong emphasis on the natural world. Many shots are of trips to outback regions, most probably collecting trips, as the many in the family liked to collect their own zoological specimens. Early pictures of the Royal Melbourne Zoological gardens provide insights into the changing nature of zoos, and a growing awareness of Australia's indigenous fauna. Shots of caged thylacines now appear as eerie reminders of the importance of a commitment to preserving the richness of Australia's natural heritage. Images of Aborigines are also prominent in the collection, reflecting the appointment of several of the family as 'Protectors' of Aboriginal people.
Processing of the collection is being funded by the Friends of the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens. For further information, contact Lisa O'Sullivan on (03) 344 6557.