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Biographical entry Whittell, Hubert Massey (1883 - 1954)

24 March 1883
Stratford, Essex, England
7 February 1954
Nannup, Western Australia, Australia
Ornithologist and Farmer


Hubert Whittell migrated to Western Australia in 1926 and set up a dairy and orchard in Bridgetown. He joined the RAOU in 1929 and was an active member until his death. He published articles and books and his major work was The Literature of Australian Birds (1954).


Born Stratford, Essex, England, 24 March 1883. Died Nannup, Western Australia, 7 February 1954. OBE 1920. Educated India, Germany and England, and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh 1899-1902. Commissioned as an Army Officer 1904; 56th Punjabi Rifles, Indian Army from 1907; served in France, Belgium and Egypt during World War I; promoted to major 1919; migrated to Western Australia 1926; set up an orchard and dairy farm at Bridgetown. Wrote A Handbook of the Birds of Western Australia (1948, 1951, with D.L. Serventy), A Systematic List of the Birds of Western Australia (1948, with D.L. Serventy) and The Literature of Australian Birds (1954). President, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1941-43. Keen conservationist who served on the State Fauna Protection Advisory Committee from 1946. Prepared bird skins for G.M. Mathews, who named Pachyptila salvini whittelli in his honour. Whittel [sic] Island, north-west of Perth, is named after him.

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia

  • Hubert Massey Whittell - Records, 1932 - 1952, MN 32; JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details

Western Australian Museum

  • Hubert Massey Whittell - Records, 1926 - 1952; Western Australian Museum. Details

Published resources


  • Whittell, H. M., The Literature of Australian Birds: a History and a Bibliography of Australian Ornithology (Perth: Patterson Brokensha, 1954). Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Serventy, D. L., 'The late Major H. M. Whittell. OBE', Emu, 53 (1954), 61-67. Details
  • Whittell, H. M., 'Gould's Western Australian Birds, with Notes on His Collectors', Emu, 38 (1938). Details
  • Whittell, H. M., 'A Review of the Work of John Gilbert in Western Australia', Emu, 41 & 51 (1941), 112 - 129 & 117 & 131. Details
  • Whittell, H. M., 'Frederick Strange: a Biography', The Australian Zoologist, 11 (1947), 96-114. Details
  • Whittell, H. M., 'The Visits of John Gilbert, Naturalist, to Swan River Colony', Journal of the Western Australian Historical Society, 4 (1949), 23-53. Details
  • Whittell, H. M., 'John Gilbert in Western Australia', Emu, 41 (1951). Details
  • Whittell, H. M., 'John Gilbert's Notebook on Marsupials', Western Australian Naturalist, 4 (1954), 104-114. Details


See also

  • Robin, Libby, The Flight of the Emu: a Hundred Years of Australian Ornithology 1901-2001 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2001), 492 pp. Details

McCarthy, G.J. & Rosanne Walker