The H.L. White Library is the most comprehensive ornithological library in Australia. Situated at BirdLife Australia's headquarters in Melbourne, it contains thousands of books about birds and related aspects of ecology and conservation. It also houses many bird journals, ranging from international scientific journals to newsletters from local birdwatching clubs.
Click here to access the library catalogue
As the library is a reference resource of BirdLife Australia items cannot be borrowed. Members are welcome to visit or contact the library (email@example.com) with any library related questions.
Weekdays from 10 am-4 pm
The library is staffed by volunteers and assistance may not always be available. Prior appointment is recommended before visiting the library.
A Truly Great Legacy
Henry Luke White (1860-1927) was one of the most influential people in the world of Australian ornithology in the early 20th century. He was a founding member of the AOU, and published over 90 scientific papers about Australian birds. His greatest ornithological achievement, though, was amassing a huge collection of thousands of bird skins and eggs that was unrivalled in Australia. The collection was begun when he was a schoolboy, which was then augmented by purchasing the collections assembled by other collectors. Importantly, he later employed some of the most skilled field ornithologists of the day to collect rare birds and eggs for him, mounting expeditions to all corners of the country. These amazing collections were housed and curated in special cabinets at his family estate 'Belltrees' near Scone in NSW, and were eventually donated to the National Museum of Victoria, where they are still used by researchers today.
In addition, H.L. White also collected Australian books, and his library included more than 2000 rare publications, many of them relating to ornithology. His specially-designed book-plate even featured a lyrebird reading a book. He was a generous philanthropist, and donated copies of Gould's Birds of Australia and Mathews' Birds of Australia to our library which would later bear his name.
It is fitting then, with this synergy of birds and books, that BirdLife Australia has dedicated its library to the memory of H.L. White.