Image: Edgar Ravenswood Waite

Edgar Ravenswood Waite

Edgar Waite, Curator of Fishes at the Australian Museum from 1892 to 1906.

Australian Museum
© Australian Museum


Waite was born in England in 1866 and worked in the Leeds Museum before accepting the position of Assistant in Zoology in charge of vertebrates at the Australian Museum in 1892.

He worked at the Australian Museum during a period of extreme financial stringency. The depression of 1893 resulted in the reduction of running funds by more than one half.

During his career, he published about 140 papers, over half of which were on fishes. He was the first Australian ichthyologist to use detailed illustrations in his papers.

Waite's major contribution to Australian ichthyology was publishing The Fishes of South Australia in 1923.

At end of his employment at the Australian Museum, the collection contained over 18,000 specimens.

Waite left the Australian Museum to become the Curator of the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1906, where he worked for eight years. He then returned to Australia to take up the Directorship of the South Australian Museum where he remained until his death in 1928.

Further reading:

  1. Paxton, J.R. & M.A. McGrouther. 1997. A history of the fish collection at the Australian Museum (1860-1968), with a summary of current Australian fish collections. in Pietsch, T.W. & W. Anderson (Eds) Collection building in ichthyology and herpetology. Special Publication of the American Society of Ichthyology and Herpetology. Pp. 183-205, 14 figs.
  2. Strahan, R. et al. 1979. Rare and Curious Specimens. An Illustrated History of the Australian Museum 1827-1979. Australian Museum. Pp. 173.
  3. Waite, E.R. 1923. The Fishes of South Australia. R.E.E. Rogers, Government Printer, Adelaide. Pp. 243.

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