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Educated at King's College, London, the naturalist and marine biologist William Saville-Kent (1845–1908) went on to work at the British Museum and in aquariums at Brighton, Manchester and Westminster. He spent many years in Australia as a fisheries expert, and during this time he made extensive surveys of the natural world. The present work, first published in 1897, was intended to give a non-scientific audience a glimpse of the fantastic array of wildlife in Australia. The author discusses the many varieties of birds, lizards, fish and other sea life, insects (an entire chapter is devoted to termites), and vegetation. He was also able to take advantage of the photographic technology of the time and include around fifty collotype images, which complement the many other illustrations of the plants and animals he writes about, providing a vivid overview of the natural world in late nineteenth-century Australia.