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Darwin Correspondence Project

William Sharp Macleay


Naturalist and diplomat. Brother of George Macleay. Originated the circular or quinary system of classification. Diplomat in France and then Havana; retired in 1837. In 1839, emigrated to Sydney, Australia, where he devoted himself to the study of Australian natural history. Made large collections of Australian insects and marine fauna, and supervised the cultivation of exotic plants in his private gardens. Trustee of the Australian Museum, 1841–62.


Aust. dict. biog.



Aust. dict. biog.: Australian dictionary of biography. Edited by Douglas Pike et al. 14 vols. [Melbourne]: Melbourne University Press. London and New York: Cambridge University Press. 1966–96.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.