Tag Archives: Obituary

Tess Kloot – A Tribute

Tess Kloot died on the 10th November 2016, just one day short of her 93rd birthday. In earlier days she was an active member of all three bird organisations centred in Melbourne – the RAOU/BA, BOC/BOCA and VORG. She was archivist for the RAOU in the 1970’s and then a library volunteer for BOCA and a member of its Publication Committee. In 2005 she received the BOCA Distinguished Service Award.

Tess threw herself into all things ornithological, including the usual birdwatching activities. She contributed to bird surveys, e.g. The Atlas of Australian Birds conducted by the RAOU from 1977 – 1981, and she herself organised the VORG 1988 – 1991 survey on the birds of Box Hill.

As part of her varied ornithological activities, Tess delved deeply into birds, books, biographies, bibliographies and history, reading and writing prolifically. Many of her articles appeared in The Bird Observer and VORG Notes. She was author or co-author of books and reports such as Birds of Australian Gardens (publ. Rigby 1980), Birds of Cranbourne Botanic Gardens (publ. BOCA 1993), Birds of Box Hill (publ. VORG 2000) and was both the compiler and author of a large bio-bibliographical supplement (publ. BOCA 1995) to Whittell’s The Literature of Australian Birds, 1618 – 1950.

Perhaps the greatest single task that Tess undertook was to collect first-hand information on the lives of all ornithologists connected with Australian birds. For these she used questionnaires, conducted personal interviews and corresponded widely. She gathered together 567 biographical files, 164 newspaper cuttings, c. 145 people photographs, and additional material on Tom Iredale and his wife Lillian Medland. In 2003 all this was accepted by the State Library of Victoria where it is stored as The Tess Kloot Collection (ref. no. PA 03/107) and may be consulted by those seeking relevant information.

Helen I. Aston

Vale Norman Eyre-Walker

1 January 2014

Many members of Birdlife Australia, and particularly those of   Birdlife Melbourne’s Weekdays Outings group, will be saddened by the death of Norman Eyre-Walker on 27th December 2013 following  many months of deteriorating health.

Norman was a stalwart of what we now know as Birdlife Australia, joining the then Bird Observers Club after his retirement. He enjoyed both the monthly meetings and the Weekdays Outings, of which acted as co-convenor for several years.  He led many outings for the group and his meticulous research and knowledge of the chosen area and its birds was always a highlight.

He carried his birding knowledge and enthusiasm into several areas of his life, especially enjoying private trips with experts like John Barkla and the late Fred TH Smith.    Another great friend and birding mentor has been Graeme Hosken.

Together with his wife Bonnie, a knowledgeable plantswoman and a keen-eyed birder, Norman relished life at their holiday home at Kennett River and the two explored most of the Otway Ranges as well as much of Australia.

He was always a low-key birder and even when his personal bird-list was well past a total aspired to by many, he took as much pleasure in showing newcomers the brilliance of an Eastern Rosella in bright sunshine or an Eastern Yellow Robin perching quietly on a tree trunk as he did in adding something new to his own list.

Norman and Bonnie at Kennett River (1 of 1)Norman and Bonnie at Kennett River.

(Photographer: Roy Huse; Obituary by Leonie Robbins, Weekdays Outings BirdLife Melbourne)