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Sir Charles Maurice Yonge Collection

Sir Charles Maurice Yonge (1899-1986) was a highly distinguished marine zoologist whose contribution to marine science and especially malacology, was long and productive, with a publication record spanning 63 years. He led the highly successful Great Barrier Reef Expedition of 1928-1929, which opened up the scientific world to the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, and laid the foundations of scientific study into modern coral reef biology. He was a dedicated scientist who travelled widely, a fine teacher and a prolific writer. He inspired generations of upcoming young scientists around the world to take his research further and discover more.

Throughout his life, Sir Maurice acquired an extensive private library of books, reports and papers relating to all aspects of the sea, in all its wonders. In 1982, knowing that his health was failing him, he sold his private scientific library to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Sir Maurice had undertaken a six-week research trip to AIMS in 1978, and formed such lasting bonds with scientists and personnel there, that he felt the most appropriate home for his library was at AIMS.

Comprising around several thousand items, the collection includes works published from the early eighteenth to the twentieth century. The subject range of the collection is overall marine, with malacology a strong subject area. Many other marine subjects are also represented, such as oceanography, fisheries, marine biology, marine botany and zoology, biographies, records of major scientific expeditions, history, marine fiction, anthologies & poetry, and even seafood cookbooks.

Photographic Albums documenting the Great Barrier Reef Expedition of 1928-1929. Photograph By Michael Marzik.

Members of the Great Barrier Reef Scientific Expedition departing England on the RMS Ormonde, May 1928. Photo: Frederick and Gweneth Russell’s Album 1, Sir Charles Maurice Yonge Collection.