Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born at Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales and baptised on 17 September 1847; emigrated to Australia, departing from England on 4 June 1857 with his mother and siblings on the SS Undaunted as assisted passengers, arriving at Melbourne, Vic, on 20 August 1857; died at 'Cwn Bar' Walmer Street, Kew (Melbourne), Vic, on 24 November 1922.
He spent his adolescence in Victoria, around Bendigo, and was listed as living at Victoria Street, Abbotsford (Melbourne), between 1901 and 1910.
Litle is known of his educational background although Joseph was a pharmaceutical chemist by profession, 13 He was reputed to have been an excellent cabinet maker, constructing his own furniture, specimen cabinets and even building a small yacht at his home.
With a more than general interest in natural history, Joseph was an active field participant. dredging for seaweeds and protozoans especially in Western Port Bay, c.90km SSE of Melbourne, and he passed his shell collection onto his son Charles John Gabriel, who became an authority on the marine conchology of Victoria. The combined shell collections of both Joseph and his son, Charles, were received by the National Museum of Victoria (NMV), Melbourne as a bequest in 1963.
Joseph had a long association with the Museum: "In 1895 Joseph Gabriel was issued a permit to collect ornithology specimens for the National Museum, the first of many honorary workers and the beginning of an association with the Gabriel family, father and son, that would continue until the 1960s .."
"Joseph Gabriel, a conchologist and an Honorary Associate of the Museum, joined a vessel The Patrol to collect specimens during the raising of the Bass Strait submarine cable. This was one of the earliest large acquisitions of local species." But Gabriel's main passion appears to have been ornithology. He was an earty member of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (FNCV), being elected in July 1883, then becoming a committee member in Jutly 1895, a position which he held for almost 25 years, serving as President between 1920 and 1921. He published several articles in the Society's journal, the Victorian Naturalist, from 1893 to 1919.
His many excursions with the FNCV took him to the Bass Strait islands on various occasions, including the North East Island, Kent Group (November 1890), and Furneaux Group (November 1893), and a visit to Albatross Island, Hunter Group, northwest Bass Strait in October 1894 with H.P.C. Ashworth. Joseph also accompanied Archibald Campbell on several excursions, including the headwaters of the Edward and Wakool Rivers in south western NSW in 1894.
Source: Extracted from book: 'Passions in Ornithology: A century of Australian Egg Collectors' (2020), Mason & Pfitzner, Canberra. [consult for source references]
Portrait Photo: Extracted from: above.