John Burton Cleland bigraphy, stories - Australian ornithologist

John Burton Cleland : biography

22 June 1878 - 11 August 1971

Sir John Burton Cleland CBE (22 June 1878 - 11 August 1971) was a renowned Australian naturalist, microbiologist, mycologist and ornithologist. He was Professor of Pathology at the University of Adelaide and was consulted on high-level police inquiries, such as the famous Taman Shud Case in 1948 and later.

Legacy and honours

  • 1949, he was elected an Honorary Life Member of the RAOU.
  • 1952, he was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion.
  • He is commemorated by the Cleland Conservation Park in the Mount Lofty Ranges of South Australia, and the J.B. Cleland Kindergarten in Beaumont, South Australia.

Early life and education

John Burton Cleland was born in Norwood, South Australia. He attended Prince Alfred College and the universities of Adelaide and Sydney, graduating in Medicine in 1900.


He worked as a microbiologist in Western Australia and New South Wales for several years. He was appointed as a full Professor of Pathology at the University of Adelaide, and taught generations of students., British Medical Journal, 2005, 330; 1212

Bust of Sir John Burton Cleland in Cleland Wildlife Park

Cleland was elected President of the Royal Society of South Australia 1927-1928, and again in 1941. He became a member of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU) in 1902, and served as its President 1935-1936.

In 1934-35, he published a two-volume monograph on the fungi of South Australia, one of the most comprehensive reviews of Australian fungi to date.

Cleland was the pathologist on the infamous Taman Shud Case, in which an unidentified man was discovered dead on a beach 1 December 1948. While Cleland theorized that the man had been poisoned, he found no trace of it. The man was never identified.

Marriage and family

Cleland married Dora Isabel Paton, and they had four daughters and son. He encouraged them in the sciences: Joan Paton became an ornithologist, and William Paton Cleland became a cardio-thoracic surgeon.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine