Edgar Ravenswood Waite
Edgar Ravenswood Waite was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n ichthyologist, ornithologist and zoologist.
Waite was born in Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

, Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, the second son of John Waite, a bank clerk,
and his wife Jane, née Vause. Waite was educated at Leeds Parish Church Middle Class School and at the Victoria University of Manchester
Victoria University of Manchester
The Victoria University of Manchester was a university in Manchester, England. On 1 October 2004 it merged with the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology to form a new entity, "The University of Manchester".-1851 - 1951:The University was founded in 1851 as Owens College,...

. In 1888 he was appointed sub-curator of the Leeds Museum and three years later was made curator. On 7 April 1892 Waite married Rose Edith Green at St Matthew's parish church, Leeds.
In 1893 Waite became zoologist at the Australian Museum
Australian Museum
The Australian Museum is the oldest museum in Australia, with an international reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology. It features collections of vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, as well as mineralogy, palaeontology, and anthropology...

, Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, he was the Fish Curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

 there from 1893-1906.
In 1898 Waite published Popular Account of Australian Snakes. He was with the trawling expedition conducted by the H.M.C.S Thetis and wrote the report on the fish, and he also reported on the fish trawled by the Western Australian government. He was involved in several expeditions to sub-Anatarctic islands - including the 1907 Sub-Antarctic Islands Scientific Expedition
1907 Sub-Antarctic Islands Scientific Expedition
The 1907 Sub-Antarctic Islands Scientific Expedition was a New Zealand scientific expedition organised by the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury...

, New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

, and the Australian interior. By the time Waite's employment ended at the Australian Museum, the collection contained 18,000 specimens. He was later the Curator of the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 for eight years, before accepting the Directorship at the South Australia Museum.

Waite was the first Australian ichthyologist to use detailed illustration
An illustration is a displayed visualization form presented as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that is created to elucidate or dictate sensual information by providing a visual representation graphically.- Early history :The earliest forms of illustration were prehistoric...

s in his papers. During his career, he published around 140 papers, more than half were on fish. His major contribution to Australian ichthyology was The Fishes of South Australia (1923).

In 1926 Waite spent time studying European and American museums; while in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 he arranged the Australian section of a museum there. He had contracted malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 while in New Guinea, and suffered from poor health from that time. Waite died on 19 January 1928 from enteric fever while at Hobart
Hobart is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony,Hobart is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney. In 2009, the city had a greater area population of approximately 212,019. A resident of Hobart is known as...

 attending a meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science. He was survived by a widow and a son.

Although of a retiring disposition, Waite was a man of great versatility. He was a linguist and musician, could draw and paint in water-colour, was an expert modeller, had some knowledge of mechanics, and was a capable photographer. Most of these things were useful in his work as curator of a museum, and as such his reputation stood very high. As a scientist his most important work was on the vertebrates. He was a fellow of the Linnean Society from an early age, and at the time of his death was a vice-president of the Royal Society of South Australia
Royal Society of South Australia
The Royal Society of South Australia is a Learned Society whose interest is in Science, particularly, but not only, of South Australia.The Society stems directly from the Adelaide Philosophical Society founded on the 10 January 1853. The title "Royal" was granted by her Majesty Queen Victoria in...

. He contributed over 200 papers to various scientific publications.
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