Dr David Fleay AM MBE




David Howells Fleay was born and educated in Victoria. After graduating Bachelor of Science and Diploma in Education from the University of Melbourne, he served the Education Department of that State for seven years. He then embarked upon a career in zoology by pioneering the breeding of native animals at Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. He was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion in 1941. With his intrinsic interest and the skills which he had developed, he bred the platypus in captivity for the first time and established the species as a zoo animal in the New York Zoological Gardens.

Since he founded a fauna reserve at West Burleigh, over thirty years ago, David Fleay has devoted himself to the study of the native fauna of Queensland. His contributions range from the regular supply of snake venom to the conservation of birds and mammals in Queensland. As the Gold Coast Zoologist he was frequently called upon for advice on matters of conservation and animal well-being both by the public and the private sectors of the most rapidly growing community in Queensland.

His unmatched collection of live specimens of raptors and owls and his success m breeding most of them in captivity attracted the attention of biologists and bird-lovers alike from many parts of the world. His unique study of birds of prey shed much new light on their natural history. His most attractive and accurate accounts of these and other little­known animals in newspapers and magazines have brought delight and admiration, and are still delivering valuable information regularly, to readers from all walks of life. David Fleay's contributions to zoology and conservation, and to the State of Queensland in these fields, have been recognized by many professional societies.

Mr. Chancellor, I present to you David Howells Fleay, Member of the Order of Australia, Member of the Order of the British Empire, Corresponding Member of the Zoological Society of London, Corresponding Member of the Zoological Society of New York, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.


Doctor of Science honoris causa