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The John Landy Collection was donated to the museum in 2018. John Landy is probably best known as an athlete and a politician, serving as Governor of Victoria from 2001 to 2006. He was also a keen collector of butterflies and an amateur Natural Historian.

Explore the John Landy Collection of Butterflies.

About the collection

John Landy collected butterflies for most of his lifetime, beginning as a young boy in Melbourne. Over 75 years he amassed a collection of thousands of specimens from across Australia. The collection is arranged by species and is housed in 180 bespoke wooden drawers built by John Landy himself.

Many of the specimens were collected decades ago from areas where the species no longer exist due to urbanisation and other environmental changes. The collection is therefore a record of ecological and biodiversity shifts in the Australian landscape.

The collection is now stored in the Australian Museum Entomology Collection area.

Read the John Landy Biography

John Michael Landy was born on 12 April 1930 and has lived a rich and diverse life. His is perhaps best know for his Athletics career, where apart from being the second person to run a four-minute mile, he goes down in history for his sportsmanship in a race at the 1956 Australian National Championships. A fellow runner had fallen and John Landy ran back to offer assistance and help him back on his feet. Landy went on to win the race from the rear of the pack.

Ron Delaney and John Landy (right) at the 1956 Olympics
Ron Delaney and John Landy (right) at the 1956 Olympics. John Landy helps Ron Delaney after he fell. Image: International News Photos
© Public Domain

Following graduation from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science John Landy eventually worked his way up through the ranks at the ICI chemical company to become a senior manager. His collecting through this period was restricted to family holidays but his passion persisted.

John Landy was very active in civil society culminating in serving as the 26th Governor of the state of Victoria.

This Butterfly Collection that I am donating to the Australian Museum in Sydney represents 75 years of studying and collecting Australian butterflies. My collecting was intermittent with a career in Agricultural research and development, my athletics pursuits, family life and public service. John Landy

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