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Legge, William Vincent (1841 - 1918)

Published Sources
Ornithologist and Soldier
Born: 2 September 1841  Cullenswood, Tasmania, Australia.  Died: 25 March 1918  Cullenswood, Tasmania, Australia.
William Vincent Legge was founder of the Australasian Ornithologists Union and its first president (1901-03). He was also a Colonial Member of the British Ornithologists' Union and Honorary Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union. Legge was a keen collector of bird skins which he presented to the Hobart Museum in 1902 and wrote History of the Birds of Ceylon (1880) and Systematic List of Tasmanian Birds (1887). He also assisted in the compilation of the List of Vernacular Names for Australian Birds which was presented at the Sydney session of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science.

Career Highlights
Educated in Bath, England, France and Germany, William Vincent Legge was later commissioned in the Royal Artillery 1862. He was initially stationed at Dover from 1862-67 and then served with the imperial troops in Melbourne (1867-68) and Ceylon (1869-77). While in Ceylon, as Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society, he reorganised the run-down museum at Colombo and made a large collection of birds. Legge returned to the UK and was instructor in gunnery in Portsmouth from 1877-83. Legge became Lieutenant-Colonel and Commandant of the Tasmanian military forces from 1883-90 and 1898-1904. He later retired to "Cullenswood" in Scotland.

His son, Robert William Legge, was born in Trincomalee, Ceylon on 16 December 1874 and died at "Cullenswood", December 1944. Robert was educated the Hutchins School in Hobart and ran pastoral properties in the Riverina. He took over as manager of "Cullenswood" in 1918 after the death of his father (to1944). Like his fatherm Robert was extremely interested in birds, trees and aboriginal stone implements. He contributed several times to the 'Stray Feathers' column of The Emu and with his wife's help, he acquired a remarkable collection of stone artefacts, which were presented to the Victorian Museum at Launceston.

1862 - 1867Commissioned in the Royal Artillery and stationed in Dover
1867 - 1877Served with the imperial troops in Melbourne (-1868) and Ceylon
1877 - 1883Instructor in gunnery at Portsmouth
1880History of the Birds of Ceylon published
1883 - 1890Lieutenant-Colonel and Commandant of the Tasmanian military forces
1887Systematic List of Tasmanian Birds published
1898 - 1904Lieutenant-Colonel and Commandant of the Tasmanian military forces
1901Founder of the (Royal) Australasian Ornithologists Union
1901 - 1903Inaugural President of the Australasian Ornithologists Union
1904President of the Biological Section of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science Congress in Dunedin
1907Commemorated by Legge Tor, Ben Lomond Range


Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: McCarthy, G.J. & Rosanne Walker
Created: 20 October 1993
Modified: 29 January 2007

Published by The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre on ASAPWeb, 1994 - 2007
Originally published 1994-1999 by Australian Science Archives Project, 1999-2006 by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre
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Updated: 26 February 2007

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