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Biographical entry McGill, Arnold Robert (1905 - 1988)


3 July 1905
Tooraweenah, New South Wales, Australia
29 July 1988
Business executive and Ornithologist


Arnold McGill was an amateur ornithologist who regularly gave illustrated talks to a wide range of audiences. Probably the most notable contribution he made to ornithology in Australia was a compilation of 'A Species Index' to The Emu. The first index covered volumes 1-50, with later indexes covering volumes 51-60 and 61-70 and an index to authors and species for each volume from 1971-1987.


Born Tooraweenah, New South Wales, 3 July 1905. Died Liverpool, New South Wales, 29 July 1988. OAM 1984. Worked in his father's grocery business, first in the central west of New South Wales and later at Arncliffe, in Sydney, and eventually managed a wholesale grocery chain. Fellow, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales; Fellow, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1965. Assistant editor, Emu, 1948-69; president, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1958-59. Wrote a number of books, including Field Guide to the Waders, with H. T. Condon (1952), a revision of What Bird is That? with Alec Chisholm and Keith Hindwood (1959), A Handlist of the Birds of New South Wales (1960) and Australian Warblers (1970), and reviewed books for The Australian. His knowledge and memory for avian systematics and taxonomy on a world scale was outstanding. His wife, Bertie, who died in 1982, supported him in his ornithological involvements and was almost as well known among the birding fraternity as he was.


1941 - 1965
Career position - Member, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union
1948 - 1969
Career position - Assistant Editor, Emu
1954 - 1988
Award - Fellow, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales
1958 - 1959
Career position - President, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union
1962 - 1972
Career position - Secretary, Major Food Centre Pty Ltd
1964 - 1968
Career position - Manager, Major Food Centre Pty Ltd
1965 - 1988
Award - Fellow, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union
Life event - Retired
Award - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to ornithology

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Nixon, C. E. V., 'McGill, Arnold Robert (1905-1988), Ornithologist and Businessman', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 18, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012, pp. 74-5. Details

Journal Articles

  • Lane, S. G., 'Obituary: Arnold Robert McGill, O.A.M., F.R.Z.S., F.R.A.O.U.', Corella, vol. 12, no. 4, 1988, pp. 131-2. Details
  • Lane, S. G., 'Obituary: Arnold Robert McGill', Emu, vol. 89, no. 3, 1989, pp. 182-3. Details
  • McGill, A. R., 'Alexander Hugh Chisholm', The Emu, vol. 77, 1977, pp. 232-235. Details

Online Resources

See also

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

Rosanne Walker