Lobster Tales

#10 Mr Gray’s Mysterious Collector – Part 2 – online at FortySouth Tasmania

Ronald Campbell Gunn collected botanical and zoological specimens for some of the great natural history scientists of the 19th century. He’s my prime candidate for Mr Gray’s mysterious collector. Gunn was a favourite of the vice regal couple Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin – particularly Lady Jane…

Statue of RC Gunn in City Park, Launceston. Photo Terry Mulhern

#9 Mr Gray’s Mysterious Collector – Part 1 – online at FortySouth Tasmania

In the British Natural History Museum are two specimens of ‘tayatitja’ (pronounced tie-yah-tee-tchah) the smaller southern cousin of lutaralipina, the giant fresh water crayfish or “lobster”. They’ve been there since the late 1830s, but the Museum’s “Keeper” of Zoology, John Edward Gray, didn’t record who sent them to him. After some sleuthing, I’ve narrowed it down to two candidates. The first is Gray’s nephew, Commander Alexander Smith RN.

Alexander Smith. MLA fro Castlemaine 1861-1864. Photo Parliament of Victoria

#8 Life Underground – online at FortySouth Tasmania

Several of Tasmania’s burrowing crayfish were first collected by a Prussian sheep-breeding expert who worked for the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The “type” specimens are in the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. Confusion about exactly which species they were was only recent resolved…

Geocharax tasmanicus Erichson – Photo Dr Ollie Colman (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)

#7 Dr. Crayfish has not made it to the online magazine (yet)

but it’s in Tasmania 40ºSouth Magazine, Issue 102, Autumn 2021

#6 Gould’s Creek – online at FortySouth Tasmania

Hidden in the hills behind Scottsdale in northeast Tasmanian is ‘Gould’s Creek’. But you won’t find Gould’s Creek on any modern map…

Tasmania 40ºSouth Magazine, Issue 101, Winter 2021

Gould’s Creek – County of Dorset, Parish of Kay, Survey Map 1864

#5 Inside the Mountain – online at FortySouth Tasmania

An adventure on and inside kunanyi to find minuscule mountain shrimp and Tasmania’s largest spider.

Tasmania 40ºSouth Magazine, Issue 100, Autumn 2021

Tasmanian cave spider (Hickmania troglodytes). Photo Terry Mulhern

Tasmania 40ºSouth Magazine, Issue 99, Summer 2020/21

The frontier west of Launceston, c1823. Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

Read about reading about lobsters in Tasmanian literature

Tasmania 40ºSouth Magazine, Issue 98, Spring 2020

John Batman. Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

The Lobster unlocks the backrooms of Melbourne Museum

Tasmania 40ºSouth Magazine, Issue 97, Winter 2020

Australian Women’s Weekly, Saturday, June 17, 1939, page 46

John Helder Wedge catches and eats the lobster. But that’s not all he captures on this expedition.

Tasmania 40ºSouth Magazine, Issue 96, Autumn 2020

Frontispiece from John Helder Wedge’s 1828 diary. State Library of New South Wales