Fish in bottles
From the earliest days of the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of Queensland, members collected, identified, and preserved specimens of fish to track the changing quality and quantity of fish stocks in Queensland waters.
More than 300 of these are still in the collection. On some of the jars can be seen the meticulous handwriting of the collection’s first curator, the renowned ichthyologist James Douglas Ogilby.
In the years 1905 to 1912, Ogilby was working with the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of Queensland as a professional ichthyologist, publishing papers, attending meetings and even going on the Endeavour’s expeditions in 1909, from which 67 of the 280 specimens made their way to the collection.
The specimens at their peak probably numbered over 2000. In the bumper collecting year 1907, 601 specimens were added to the 456 already in the collection. In 1908, 295 were added. In 1909, at least 215 were added, probably more, and in 1912 another 345 were added. Just these recorded additions amounted to 1912 specimens in the collection.
This collection now has fish, crustaceans, seahorse, sharks, stone fish, one sea snake and even kelp. There are 9 flatheads, 10 gurnards, 10 leatherjackets, 12 eels and 15 cod. The specimens came from all up and down the eastern coast of Australia, from Cape York to Tasmania, but by far the most came from Moreton Bay and Bribie.
At least 30 were officially names and described by James Douglas Ogilby who was also the most active collector, contributing 53 specimens. Next best was EJ Banfield with 28 specimens.