Edward Ramsay and the Great International Fisheries Exhibition of 1883

In 1883 Curator Edward Ramsay attended the Great International Fisheries Exhibition in London.

Illuminated certificate presented to Edward Ramsay by staff of the Australian Museum. 1883

Illuminated certificate presented to Edward Ramsay by staff of the Australian Museum. 1883
Photographer:  © Australian Museum

The Great International Fisheries Exhibition, 1883

The Great International Fisheries Exhibition was held at the Gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society, South Kensington London from May 12 to October 30, 1883. It displayed exhibits from Great Britain and Europe as well as far flung places such as the West Indies, Japan, Newfoundland, Tasmania and New South Wales.

Australian Museum Curator, Edward Pierson Ramsay, was in charge of all the Australian exhibits.

A farewell gift from staff

Ramsay was held in such high regard by Museum staff that they presented him with an illuminated certificate, signed by staff, and a pair of binoculars to take on his year-long journey. Although he was a highly regarded zoologist, Ramsay’s scientific passion lay with ornithology.

Once he arrived in London he immediately set about supervising the fit out of the displays of fish specimens and photographs. Whilst at the Exhibition, Ramsay attended the other exhibits, sat on Juries, attended lectures and arranged for specimen exchanges.

European Tour

At the completion of the Exhibition, Ramsay undertook an extensive tour of important “museums, aquaria, and zoological gardens” of Great Britain and Europe, obtaining more specimens by exchanges, gift and judicious purchases.

By the time he returned to Australia, Ramsay had added about 3500 specimens to the Australian Museum's collections.

Ramsay‘s report of his tour was published with the Australian Museum Annual Report, 1884. Certificates awarded for the Australian Museum's displays at the International Exhibition, Ramsay's engraved binoculars and the certificate presented by staff are all held in Archives.


Patricia Egan , Archivist
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