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Clive Errol Lord (1889–1933)

by Jack Thwaites

This article was published:

Clive Errol Lord (1889-1933), naturalist and museum director, was born on 6 October 1889 in Hobart, son of Octavius Lord, cashier, and his wife Ida, née Watchorn, and great-grandson of David Lord. Clive was educated at Buckland's and The Hutchins schools at Hobart and after serving his articles practised as an architect. His development into the State's leading ornithologist stemmed from a keen interest in natural history pursued as a youthful foundation member (1904) of the Tasmanian Field Naturalists' Club, as its energetic 'Hon. Sec.' after 1911, and later as president. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1917 and was its secretary in 1918-33. In 1917 he was appointed assistant curator at a somewhat neglected Tasmanian Museum. In 1921 he became curator and in 1923-33 he was director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Lord was a man of energy and enthusiasm, with the skills of a great organizer. He gave devoted labour to Tasmania's first 'national' park from its inception in 1916, as secretary to the Mount Field National Park Board. With E. T. Emmett and G. Weindorfer, Lord submitted a successful proposal for the creation of the Cradle Mountain Park. He supported the idea of a game and fisheries commission to protect land and sea animals that led to the Animals and Birds Protection Act (1928) and was a foundation member of the administering board. With Sir Douglas Mawson and Captain Frank Hurley he waged a campaign to preserve the penguins and seals of Macquarie Island that resulted in the island being proclaimed a wildlife reserve. He was a foundation member of the Tasmanian Sea Fisheries Board and the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Commission. As secretary of the Royal Botanical Gardens for many years, he reorganized the gardens on his return from London where he had been Tasmanian representative at the centenary celebrations of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1931. In 1931-32 he was president of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union.

His major work, A Synopsis of the Vertebrate Animals of Tasmania (1924), was written in association with H. H. Scott, but he compiled several handbooks and contributed numerous papers to scientific societies arising from his diverse interests and knowledge of the Tasmanian environment. He also pursued an interest in history, tracing the landfalls of early navigators in his own yacht and writing The Early Explorers of Tasmania (1920).

Tall and erect, with a genial disposition and a sense of humour, Lord got on well with people as 'the companion and adviser of all seeking knowledge in the realms of natural science and early Tasmanian history'. He was a fellow of the Linnean Society, London (1922), and of the Tasmanian Institute of Architects. In 1930 he was awarded the Tasmanian Royal Society's medal. In 1927-33 he was an associate member of the Australian National Research Council, as well as local secretary of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science. He was active in local organizations such as the Hobart Development League and was a foundation member of the Hobart Rotary Club. On 10 February 1915 Lord had married Doris Harland Mills, whom he divorced; on 17 July 1929 he married Florence Jessie Knight. He died on 15 July 1933 at Sandy Bay of hypertensive cerebro-vascular disease and was buried at Cornelian Bay cemetery. His wife and a daughter of his first marriage survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • Royal Society of New South Wales, Journal, 68 (1934)
  • Examiner (Launceston), 17 July 1933
  • Mercury (Hobart), 17 July 1933.

Citation details

Jack Thwaites, 'Lord, Clive Errol (1889–1933)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 23 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (Melbourne University Press), 1986

View the front pages for Volume 10

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