Early Literature

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Introduction

Our understanding of the Malleefowl - how it operates in its unique environment - is continually growing. Modern science has provided us with the tools to develop a knowledge of the Malleefowl that was denied to the early settlers. It is interesting to look back at some of the early articles about this quite unique bird. Fascinating, too, are the Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories.

I am interested in any old articles or Dreamtime Stories about the Malleefowl, or related topics, particularly any that pre-date the third one below. Any piece published on this website will be duly acknowledged.

The Lowan Bird's Year

I was given a photocopy of this article by avid 'Malleefowler' Gwyn Wiseman, of Hopetoun. It was originally printed as a series of four articles in the Wimmera Quarterly. I don't know the original date of publication but suspect that it must have been circa 1960's.

The author of the piece is Keith Hateley. Keith was the first Ranger of the Little Desert National Park and was one of the early pioneers with research into the Malleefowl, or lowan, as they were often called.

The Lowan Bird's Year (pdf format, 54KB)

The Mound Builders

Again, I was given a photocopy of this article by avid 'Malleefowler' Gwyn Wiseman, of Hopetoun. I have no idea of where it was originally published. Again, I don't know the original date of publication but suspect that it must have been circa 1960's.

The author of the piece is Howard Jarman, a noted ornithologist, who died circa 1980.

The Mound Builders (pdf format, 36KB)

The Mallee Hen Unmasked

I came across the book that contained this article in a second-hand bookshop in Ararat. My wife and I had stopped for lunch on our way home from the VMRG Training Weekend held at Wyperfeld National Park. The book, Graham Pizzey Introduces Stories of Australian Birds, was published by Currey O'Neil in 1983. It contains a truly eclectic collection of stories by authors such as Banjo Paterson, Mary Gilmore and John Gould, to name but a few.

Because of the title I initially thought that the story was about the Malleefowl, but it is not. It is about one of it's northern cousins, the Orange Footed Scrub Fowl. Nonetheless, I have included it on this website because it must be one of the earliest pieces written on Australian Megapodes, and it makes for interesting reading.

The author of the piece is John Gilbert. He was a noted naturalist who had worked with the ornithologist, John Gould. He was making a study of Australian birds and signed up with Ludwig Leichardt, who, in 1844, began an exploration across north-eastern Australia. In June of 1945 Gilbert, in an altercation with local aboriginals, was speared in the chest and died almost immediately.

They were in the Port Essington area on the Coburg Peninsula, not far from present day Darwin. Apparently Leichardt put Gilbert's diary into his own pack and sent it onto John Gould in England. It seems that he never bothered to read it as Gilbert's writings condemned Leichardt as an unstable and incompetent character.

The Mallee Hen Unmasked (pdf format, 70KB)

Birds The Bury Their Eggs

The book that contained this article was given to me by a dear friend, Giz McMahon, an avid collector of old books. She came across it during one of her many hours in second-hand bookshops.

The book, Bird Wonders of Australia, was written by Alec Chisholm and published by Angus & Robertson in 1935. It contains a fascinating collection of stories on Australian birds and some marvellous black and white photos.

This story contains an early, account of successful artificial hatching.

The author, Alec Chisholm, was an Australian born journalist-naturalist who wrote extensively for the now defunct Melbourne newspaper "The Argus", and for newspapers in Sydney and Brisbane.

He had wide experience as a field naturalist and was an officer to a number of scientific societies.

Birds That Bury Their Eggs (pdf format, 101KB)

Why Mallee Bird Lays Her Eggs In The Sand

I was sent this article by Ron and Gwyn Wiseman, avid members of the VMRG. It came from their daughter as a result of a project of hers.

It is, apparently, from the Aboriginal Dreaming, and makes for some fascinating reading.

It appears to have come from a book entitled Legends of the Birds of which I know nothing more at this stage.

Wayambeh (pdf format, 76KB)

Notes on Heat Generation and Management in the Mound of the Malleefowl

This, and the following article, where written by H. L. Buckingham and was published in 7th Report (April 1970) of the Sunraysia Naturalists Research Trust.

Whilst not strictly a piece of 'early' literature as are the others in this collection, it is very interesting and a useful addition to our knowledge of the Malleefowl.

I have not been able to find out anything about the author, so any information would be appreciated.

The Sunraysia Naturalist Research Trust changed its name but to what I no not. Again, any information appreciated.

Article provided by Merle Poole, of Ouyen.

Heat Generation (pdf format, 87KB)

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The Smallest Lowans

This, and the previous article, was written by H. L. Buckingham and was published in 6th Report (April 1969) of the Sunraysia Naturalists Research Trust.

Whilst not strictly a piece of 'early' literature as are the others in this collection, it is very interesting and a useful addition to our knowledge of the Malleefowl.

I have not been able to find out anything about the author, so any information would be appreciated.

The Sunraysia Naturalist Research Trust changed its name but to what I no not. Again, any information appreciated.

Article provided by Merle Poole, of Ouyen.

Smallest Lowans (pdf format, 103KB)