John Gould

John Gould (1804 - 1881)

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John Gould
Born in Lyme Regis, Dorset, Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in London, Englandmap
Died in London, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 5 Nov 2018
This page has been accessed 22 times.

Categories: Ornithologists.


John Gould was an English ornithologist and is considered the father of bird study in Australia. The Gould League in Australia is named after him.

John Gould was born on 14th September 1804 at Lyme Regis, Dorset, England. He was the eldest son of a gardener and had begun a keen interest in the study of bird life from an early age.

After training as a gardener under his father at the Royal Gardens of Windsor from 1818 to 1824, where he gained an acquaintance with many British species, young Gould became gardener at Ripley Castle in Yorkshire. In 1827, he was appointed taxidermist to the newly formed Zoological Society of London.[1]

In January 1829, John married Elizabeth Coxen, an accomplished young natural history artist, whose other loves were music and the study of languages.

His first work, the Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains, was completed in 1832. Having discovered, to his dismay, that publishers would not countenance the risk of issuing a costly production on such restricted subjects, the publishing process began an adventure In bookselling. He became his own publisher in a career which lasted half a century and produced and issued 41 large folio volumes, with no fewer than 2,999 hand-coloured plates.[2]

Leaving the Zoological Society to concentrate on his next project, Synopsis of the Birds of Australia, he realised that he needed to travel out to Australia to view the wildlife and collect specimens. This he did in 1838, returning to England in 1840. There is no doubt that his finished works are a brilliant contribution to the study of ornithology: The Birds of Australia (1840–48). It included a total of 600 plates in seven volumes; 328 of the species described were new to science and named by Gould; A Monograph of the Macropodidae, or Family of Kangaroos (1841–1842) and the three-volume The Mammals of Australia (1849–1861)[3] Most sadly, though, was the losss of his dear wife in 1841 during the birth of their sixth child.

John Gould passed away on 3rd February 1881 at Bedford Square, London, England, and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.

In 1976, he was honoured on a postage stamp, bearing his portrait, issued by Australia Post.


  1. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860-1954) Sat 17 Sep 1938 Page 8 JOHN GOULD, "BIRD MAN"; accessed 6 Nov 2018
  2. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Sat 17 Sep 1938 Page 8 JOHN GOULD, "BIRD MAN"; accessed 6 Nov 2018
  3. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Sat 17 Sep 1938 Page 8 JOHN GOULD, "BIRD MAN"; accessed 6 Nov 2018

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John Gould postage stamp
John Gould postage stamp

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John is 36 degrees from Rosa Parks, 26 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 20 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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