LEACH, John Albert (1870-1929)


LEACH, John Albert (1870-1929)
ornithologist
son of W. Leach, was born at Ballarat on 19 March 1870. He was educated at the Creswick grammar school and the university of Melbourne, where he graduated B.Sc. and subsequently gained his doctorate for research in ornithology. Joining the education department he was a teacher for some time at schools in Gippsland where he began his study of bird life. He became an inspector of schools and towards the end of his life was assistant chief inspector of primary schools. He published in 1911 An Australian Bird Book, a most useful handbook with many illustrations in colour. This went into a seventh revised and enlarged edition in 1929. In 1922 he brought out Australian Nature Studies, a book which has been of the greatest use to organizers of nature study throughout Australia. He was also part author of a series of Federal Geography books, and did much work on the Official Checklist of the Birds of Australia second and revised edition published by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union in September 1926. He was editor of the Emu for many years and also published a few pamphlets on nature study. He had two books in preparation on Australian natural history when he died at Melbourne on 3 October 1929. He married Emily Lamert Gillman, who survived him with a son and two daughters.
Leach was hard-working and conscientious, was a leading authority on Australian ornithology, and had great influence on the spread of nature study in Australia through his books and as a broadcaster.
R. H. Croll and Brooke Nicholls, The Emu, vol. XXIX, pp. 230-3; The Education Gazette, 22 October 1929, p. 262; The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 4 October 1929.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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