Passionate birder to talk on rare collection

06-Feb-2017

The collection loaned by Dr Andrew Miller includes original lithographic hand-coloured prints of birds by English ornithologist John Gould

The collection loaned by Dr Andrew Miller includes original lithographic hand-coloured prints of birds by English ornithologist John Gould


A passionate bird watcher and avid collector of rare bird materials will provide an insight into his collection of centuries old books and prints at the Charles Darwin University Art Gallery this week (Wednesday, 8 February).

Part of a collection owned by Darwin obstetrician Dr Andrew Miller is currently on display in “Our feathered friends… the art of birds” exhibition at CDU, which celebrates the diversity and abundance of Australia’s unique birdlife.

Rare materials on display include the original book written by Captain Arthur Phillip on his voyage from England to Botany Bay in 1787, which also illustrates Australian birds.

Dr Miller said he became interested in birds and bird watching as a child growing up on a farm in Nelson in Victoria.

“I was also inspired by the now famous ornithologist and bird artist Betty Temple-Watts, who came to visit the area in the 1960s, and I was able to tag along on her bird watching trips.”

He said that when he heard about the exhibition at the CDU Art Gallery, he contacted curator Joanna Barrkman to loan parts of his collection to the Gallery to share with the public.

“I had some pieces on the unique and beautiful birds found in the NT that I thought others would be interested in seeing,” he said. “Many of the pieces have a special meaning to me and I thought they might do the same for others in the community.”

Ms Barrkman said the collection loaned by Dr Miller added a historical depth to the exhibition, which predominantly featured a diverse range of contemporary art.

“The loan includes18 original lithographic hand-coloured prints of birds by English ornithologist John Gould, based on The Birds of Australia 1840-48,” Ms Barrkman said.

She said the exhibition included sculptures, works on paper, weavings, film, ceramics and paintings by artists from around the world, by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists that illustrated the significant relationship between people and birds in Central Australia and the Top End.

The exhibition also highlights the plight of the endangered Yellow Chat, enables visitors to watch Bower Birds making their nests, and follows the Global Shorebird migrations between the North and South Poles.

Dr Miller’s public floor-talk will be held on Wednesday, 8 February at 5:15pm at the CDU Art Gallery, Building Orange 12, Casuarina campus. The exhibition “Our feathered friends… the art of birds” will be open until 25 February 2017. For more information visit W: cdu.edu.au/artgallery.