Butterfly Conservation

    South Australia Inc.


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ROBERT HILSON FISHER

b 1922 -d 2007

 

Robert Fisher’s interest in butterflies dates back to his childhood in Adelaide when he used to go on collecting trips on his bicycle.

Bob’s association with the South Australia Museum started in the 1930’s when he became acquainted with Herbert Womersley in the Entomology Department and then with Norman Tindale who accompanied him on many field excursions looking for butterflies and encouraged his interest in these insects.

A pharmacist by profession, (a career chosen by his parents), Bob returned to Adelaide University to study Physics, Zoology and Geology with the intention of completing a Science degree. Family and business obligations forced him to abandon this potential career but he maintained a lifelong interest in the study of butterflies and their relationship with the environment. He collected extensively in Australia and New Guinea as well as the USA and Canada. He personally reared the majority of SA specimens and researched the life histories of several of them for the first time. A keen photographer, he extensively photographed butterflies and their early stages.

As an authority on Australian butterflies, he is the author of two books published on this subject.

"Butterflies of South Australia" – a 272 page book with colour and half tone illustrations, published by the SA Government in 1978 for the Handbooks Committee.

"A Field Guide to Australian Butterflies" – a 254 page book with colour photographs, published in 1995.

All of the photographs in these books were his own work.

He completed a manuscript with accompanying photos for a third book "The Remarkable World of Butterflies" but was unable to find a publisher.

He is also the author of some 25 papers and articles on butterflies and nine reports commissioned by Government authorities, examining the butterfly fauna of various national park and conservation areas.

In recognition of his work on butterflies Bob was appointed as an Honorary Research Associate in Entomology at the South Australia Museum in 1986, and in 1988 he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of South Australia for services to the Society. Also in 1988 he was given the J.C. Le Souef award by the Entomological Society of Victoria for contributions by an amateur to Entomology.

In 1994 Bob was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his service to Entomology, particularly through the conservation of endangered species of butterflies in South Australia.

In 1995 he was appointed by CSIRO Division of Entomology, Canberra as Regional Adviser for South Australia in the production of the book "Butterflies of Australia : Their identification, Biology and Distribution.

In March 1999 he was appointed as an Honorary Member of Butterfly Conservation SA Inc in recognition of his outstanding work for butterfly conservation over many years.

Bob presented his collection of some 3,600 butterfly specimens to the South Australia Museum in 1986. As an experienced Natural History photographer, Bob was responsible for displays from time to time in the Museum. His extensive library of colour transparencies, including Australian butterflies and their early stages (eggs, larvae and pupae) is now also held by the Museum for educational, scientific and exhibition purposes.

     Bob Fisher with Jan Forrest at the SA Museum

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                              Roger Grund

Roger Grund has been interested in butterflies for most of his life. His interest commenced early due to the presence in his household of the large green Birdwing butterfly and the large blue Ulysses butterfly brought back from New Guinea by an uncle present there during World War 11, and also due to the presence of a bright blue Amaryllis Azure butterfly collected by his mother when his parents were opal mining at Andamooka. This interest was fostered by his late mother Jean Grund OAM, a noted naturalist and photograper.

Being a petroleum geologist, Roger had the chance to study butterflies as a hobby in many places around the world while in pursuit of his work. Upon retirement in the early 1990s, his interest in South Australian butterflies was once again fostered. Undertaking many surveys of butterflies for the Department of Environment in South Australia, he soon recognized that the extensive urbanization and agriculturalisation of the environment that had occurred in the forty-year period of his absence from Adelaide had caused severe consequential loss of habitat and butterflies, many of which were irreplaceable forms now totally lost by extinction.

Roger was a founding member of the Butterfly Conservation South Australia group in 1998, its chairman from 2001 – 2007, and now is an Honorary Life Member. He has continued to write and publish many scientific papers, and has amassed a very extensive photo collection of butterflies and their biology, some of which are portrayed in "South Australian Butterflies" on his website. He was responsible for a major taxonomic revision of the Theclinesthes group of butterflies in collaboration with his Japanese friend Atuhiro Sibatani. On many of his later surveys he was accompanied by his friend and fellow lepidopterist, the late Lindsay Hunt. Together they added ten additional butterflies to South Australia’s butterfly fauna [from an original number of 64 at the time], and managed to elucidate and photograph all the butterflies occurring in South Australia along with their early-stage biology, examples of which are portrayed in the Society’s book "Attracting Butterflies to your Garden".

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JOHAN GOTTLIEB OTTO TEPPER

Johan Gottlieb Otto Tepper was born on April 19, 1841 in Neutomischel in the province of Posen, Prussia (Nowy Tomysel, Poland), a small town 45 km west of Poznan. Due to the religious persecution they suffered as Lutherans, John Tepper, his wife Anna Elizabeth (nee Lehman) and their three young sons left Germany and migrated to South Australia in 1847. They sailed on the ‘Gellert’ and 115 days later arrived in Holdfast Bay. They settled in Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley and the whole family worked tirelessly and underwent many hardships on their farm.

 

Johan Tepper learned to speak English at the age of 16 and his thirst for knowledge was gratified by the Gawler town Institute which opened an agency at the Lyndoch Hotel. Tepper in his autobiography writes, ‘The enjoyment experienced even by the frequently required aid of the dictionary, besides the memorising of more and more new words, was so intense that for the greater part of my early life, I was the member or secretary etc. of one or the other’. He and Dr. L. Richter were cofounders of the first English-German Institute in Lyndoch. He was also a keen mathematician.

 

Besides his normal chores on the farm Johann learned to shear sheep, which he did for four years, and was even offered the position of manager of one of the properties. He turned the offer down and joined a large general store business as an assistant and later became a partner in a flour mill. When the mill failed he took charge of a parish school for 12 months. He then became a state school teacher and remained in the Education department for 15 years.

 

Johan married Miss Jane Brock in 1867 eight months before taking up his first appointment as a teacher at the New Mecklenberg school. He taught in five different state schools during which time he actively engaged in his natural history pursuits and published numerous articles on his geological and botanical findings in those areas. He had a son and two daughters. His son John William collected plants extensively in the Roebuck Bay area in Western Australia, which he sent to his father.

 

CONTRIBUTION TO THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM

 

In 1883 Tepper resigned from the Education Department and was appointed as the Natural History Collector at the Adelaide Museum. In his first report to the Board of Governors of the Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery in 1884-85 he stated that the valuable collections of foreign Coleoptera and Lepidoptera were systematically arranged and placed in the museum for exhibition to the public. More than 2000 species of the latter were being prepared for identification, as well as the Lepidoptera, principally from Queensland, New South Wales, New Guinea and the Adelaide area, most of which were collected by him. He also made lists of all the insects in the Museum and published them in his annual reports.

 

Tepper’s contribution to the South Australian Museum was invaluable. He kept detailed drawings and hand written descriptions of insect specimens and their habitats from personal observation. As there were no books or magazines on insects in South Australia, he published a series of articles in ‘Garden and Field’ for the benefit of farmers and cultivators.

 

In 1889-90 Tepper was appointed as the Museum Entomologist and was also in charge of the department of Numismatics and subsequently the Museum library. He published numerous papers in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia and many books including ‘Common Native Insects of South Australia – A popular Guide to South Australian Entomology ‘ – parts 1 and 2. He was a member of the Astronomical Society and on several occasions occupied the presidential chair of the Field Naturalists Society. In 1879 he was made a Fellow of the Linnean Society (London) and was a Life Fellow of the Society of Science, Letters and Art (London). He won a medal from the latter institution for his paper on "Flowers – Their origin and uses’.

 

Tepper retired from the Museum in 1911 and died at his residence in Norwood in 1923.

 

RESOURCES

 

Copy of family records kept by J. G.O. Tepper in his family Bible

The Obituary to J.G.O.Tepper

Rare Book Collection of SA Museum

Kraehenbuchl, D.N. "The Life and Works of J.G.O. Tepper, F.L.S., and His association with The Field Naturalists’ Section of the Royal Society of South Australia" published in the ‘S.A. Naturalist’. Dec. 1969.

Report of the Board of Governors of The Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia, with the Reports of the Standing Committees, for 1884-5.

[See The Field Naturalist 1969, Vol 44, pp23-42]

 

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N.B. TINDALE

Norman Barnet Tindale commenced duties in the Entomology Section in 1918 as Assistant Entomologist under the then Entomologist, A. M. Lea. Shortly after joining the Museum Tindale lost the sight in one eye due to a carbide explosion when developing photographs with his father. Despite this handicap during this period in the Entomology Section Tindale published three important papers on Australian mantids and mole crickets, along with four shorter one on Australian Lepidoptera. During this time also, he made four important collecting trips which resulted in very significant acquisitions to the Entomology Section collections. In 1921-1922 he went alone to the Roper River and on to Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria. In both sites he collected insects as well carrying out Anthropological studies. Then in the company of H. M. Hale several months were spent in Princess Charlotte Bay on Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland. This was followed by two more trips with H. M. Hale, this time to the northern Flinders Ranges, one centred on Owieandana waterhole near the south eastern end of the Gammon Ranges, and the second in Owanigan Pound at the base of Mt Patawurta and elsewhere on Moolooloo Station. Some of the material they collected at this last named trip was labelled Moolooloo but some may have been labelled simply "Parachilna" as the nearest railway town by the then Entomologist A.M. Lea, despite Parachilna being some distance away from, on a sand plain, and at least 300 metres lower altitude than the rocky area around Mt Patawurta and Moolooloo Station..

As the accident which deprived him of the eyesight in one eye was a handicap in carrying out full time entomological duties Tindale later moved to head the Anthropology/Ethnology areas of the Museum where his primary interests now came to lie. Nevertheless, he maintained his interest in entomology right up to his death and continued to publish on Australian Lepidoptera, especially on ghost moths (Hepialidae) and butterflies, producing a total of ??? papers.

Tindale now was able to combine entomological collecting with his ethnological work on a number of expeditions right up to when he ceased field work after his retirement. Important amongst these in view of the range of material collected and its provenance from remote areas were those to the Mann and Musgrave Ranges, the Lake Eyre Region, north western Western Australia and with P. Aitken to Mornington and Bentinck Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Much of this material has been incorporated into, and widened the scope of, a number of important works on Australian insects and their distribution by a variety of authors.

In his later years after he had moved from Cumberland Park to his property (which he named "Kurlge") at Blackwood Tindale set up a mercury vapour light trap and continued to donate considerable amounts of material to the Entomology Section.

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