Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born at Stratton Cottage, Bulimba, Qld, on 12 June 1873; died at a Private Hospital, Hardie Street, Neutral Bay (North Sydney), NSW, on 30 September 1946.
Sidney William Jackson was a brilliant field naturalist, taxidermist, illustrator, photographer and a rather copious letter writer and note taker with an eye for detail, though characterised by some as somewhat eccentric verging on paranoia.
He was born at Bulimba, Qld, in 1873, educated at Brisbane Normal School and Toowoomba Grammar School, south eastern Qld, and later at Grafton, north eastern NSW, where his father became manager of McKitricks general store.
On leaving school Sidney commenced employment as a clerk at Grafton and later became a commercial traveller. The family moved to Sydney and Sidney has been recorded as having lived at many addresses: Windsor, Waverley (July 1899), Roseville (ca.1901). Woollahra (between January 1901 and October 1902), with a 'museum' at Randwick (ca.1903), Chatswood (ca.1907, 1909, 1913).
His passion for natural history, which included conchology and botany but especially ornithology, began at the early age of 10 when he collected one of his first-recorded egg clutches of a Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus (AM (O.61829), Sydney), at Toowoomba, on 6 November 1883.
He became part of a network that not only collected natural history specimens but regularly sold them to other richer collectors. He finally sold his extensive egg collection to Henry L. White of 'Belltrees' near Scone, NSW in 1906 and in effect became White's 'curator'. White funded his collecting trips to many parts of Australia until White's death in 1927.
After White's death he returned to Sydney where he uneventfully spent the remainder of his life, often writing about his past field experiences in a variety of publications, sometimes under the nom de plume 'Ajax'.
He was an accoplished artist (insects, frogs, fungi) and a photographer whose collection of 897 glass half-plate photographs eventually finished up in the National Library of Australia. His extensive correspondence and notebooks are also held by the National Library.
Source: Extracted from book: 'Passions in Ornithology: A century of Australian Egg Collectors' (2020), Mason & Pfitzner, Canberra. [consult for source references]
Portrait Photo: courtesy of the NLA (Picture Collection: Sidney W. Jackson photographic collection), Canberra
Data from 1,593 specimens