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Corporate entry Macleay Museum (1892 - )

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


The Macleay Museum, a part of the University of Sydney, was created when William J. Macleay donated to the University the natural history collections assembled by his uncle Alexander Macleay, his cousin William Sharp Macleay and himself. At the same time he providing funds for a Curator in perpetuity. These men were leaders in scientific circles in New South Wales in the nineteenth century. The basis of the collections was the entomological specimens brought to Australia by Alexander in 1826. The Museum was opened in 1892. It now houses a significant historical collection of insects, the specimens from the Chevert Expedition of 1875, over 16,000 ethnographic items, 60,000 historic photographs, and a large collection of scientific instruments. In 2020 it will be rehoused, with other University museum collections, in the Chau Chak Wing Museum.

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Published resources


  • Stacey, Robyn and Hay, Ashley, Museum: the MacLeays, their Collection and the Search for Order (Sydney: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 196 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Fulton, G. R., 'Alexander, William Sharp, and William John Macleay: their Ornithology and Museum' in Contributions to the History of Australasian Ornithology, volume 2, Davis, William E., Recher, Harry F. and Boles, Walter E., eds (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Nuttall Ornithological Club, 2012), pp. 327-93. Details

Edited Books

  • Stanbury, Peter and Holland, Julian eds, Mr Macleay's celebrated cabinet: the history of the Macleays and their museum (Sydney: Macleay Museum, University of Sydney, 1988), 170 pp. Details

Helen Cohn