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JOHN T. TUNNEY DEAD
Great W.A. Naturalist - HIS WORK FOR MUSEUM
The death on Monday of John T. Tunney, of Gracefield, near Kojonup, deprives the State of one of the most valuable of its old identities. Western Australia has lost an outstanding natur alist.
For 20 years Mr. Tunney has been living on his estate at Gracefield, suf fering occasionally from malaria, which he contracted originally in tropical Aus tralia while on one of his expeditions. Mr. Tunney, it is understood, was of comfortable means, and had won the respect of his neighbors by his kindness and geniality. He was unmarried. When Mr. L. Glauert, Curator of Perth Museum, heard of Mr. Tunney's death he expressed keen regret, and paid a tribute to the sterling work done by deceased. 'Although of a retiring and unassuming disposition Mr. Tunney earned for himself a position among Western Australian naturalists that will be hard to eclipse,' Mr. Glauert said. 'Mr. Turmey worked for the Museum at a time when funds for research work were available, and specimens he col lected included species that will be most difficult to obtain at present. One of these is Hackett's rock wallaby, which he secured on an almost inaccessible island in the Recherche Archipelago, off Esperance.' PIONEER NATURALIST Mr. Glauert recounted the interesting story of Mr. Tunney's association with the Museum. In the days when travel was so difficult Mr. Tunney traversed thousands of miles of the wildest coun try in search of specimens for the Museum, and for months on end he car ried his life in his hands, among the primitive blacks of districts where white men had perhaps never before been. Mr. Tunney's association with the Museum commenced in 1895, and for nearly 20 years specimens have been added to the collection as a result of his knowledge and enthusiasm. In 1895, after having been instructed by the Museum taxidermist (Mr. O. Lipfert) in the method of preparing mammal and bird skins for preservation in museums, Mr. Tunney undertook sev eral small collecting trips in the South West. In the course of time he wan dered further afield, proceeding to the Murchison and thence to Pilbarra and to the far Kimberleys via the Gascoyne. The results were so promising that the work was continued, and eventually a journey of greater magnitude was made possible by the co-operation of the present Lord Rothschild with the Museum committee.
EXTENSIVE TOURS Mr. Tunney again visited the North- West and Kimberlies, and proceeded across the. border into Northern Terri tory, visiting the Daly and Victoria rivers and reaching the alligator rivers in Arnhem Land. He followed, to a certain extent, in the tracks of the Scandinavian naturalist, Knud Dahl, sending to Perth hundreds of specimens of mammals and birds, including many forms new to science, and others which were unknown except for the specimens collected by Dahl. Mr. Tunney also visited many of the islands off our coast, and it is mainly owing to his researches, that we are acquainted with island fauna between Dampier Archipelago in the north and Recherche Archipelago in the Great Australian Bight. The series of expeditions went on till 1907, and Mr. Tunney's name will be perpetuated in tne scientific names of a number of our mammals and birds. But his activities, although mainly directed to collecting mammals and birds, in clude much smaller fry. Butterflies and moths were also obtained for Lord Rothschild, while the Hon. Nathaniel Charles Rothschild, at that time a lead ing authority on syphonaptera (fleas) , also commissioned him to make collec- tions which resulted in a number of new specimens.