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Event Chevert Expedition (1875)

18 May 1875
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
September 1875


The Chevert Expedition was financed and led by William Macleay for the purpose of collecting natural history specimens on islands in the Torres Strait and New Guinea. Departing from Sydney on 18 May 1875, the Expedition returned in September. It was the first Australian scientific expedition to visit another country. Scientific personnel included John Brazier, William Petterd and Edward Spalding (zoological collectors), Thomas Reedy (botanical collector), and William James (doctor). Also on board was Arthur Onslow, Macleay's cousin. The Expedition was considered successful because of the many scientific specimens collected: approximately 1,000 birds, 800 fish, reptiles, insects. molluscs, plants and ethnographic objects. These became part of the Macleay Museum's collections. At the conclusion of the Expedition some of the scientific personnel returned to New Guinea to continue collecting.

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Published resources


  • MacMillan, David S., A Squatter Went to Sea. The story of Sir William Macleay's New Guinea Expedition and his life in Sydney (Sydney: Currawong Publishing Co., 1957). Details

Journal Articles

  • Fulton, G. R. and Bailek, P., 'The Chevert: a history', Journal of Pacific History, 53 (2) (2018), 186-200. Details
  • Fulton, G. R. and Milne, J., 'Letters from Thomas Reedy to Sir William Macarthur, during the Chevert expedition of 1875', Cunninghamia, 19 (2019), 29-32. http://doi.10.7751/cunnnghamia.2019.19.003. Details
  • Fulton, Graham R., 'Dr William H. James 1852-76: medical doctor and naturalist', Bulletin of the British Ornithological Club, 137 (1) (2017), 71-87. Details
  • Fulton, Graham R., 'Notes on the mammals collected on the Chevert Expedition, to New Guinea, in 1875', Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 140 (2018), 1-6. Details
  • Macleay, W., 'Notes on zoological collections made in Torres Straits and New Guinea during the cruise of the Chevert', Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 1 (1875), 36-40. Details
  • Ramsay, E. P., 'Zoology of the Chevert mammals, part 1', Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 2 (1877), 7-19. Details

See also

  • Fulton, G. R., 'Thomas Reedy 1842 - 1929: gardener for Sir William Macarthur and plant collector on the Chevert Expedition to New Guinea in 1875', Cunninghamia, 16 (2016), 51-63. Details

Helen Cohn