Bancroft Exhibition – Collecting Insects and Plants

The Bancroft Exhibition Notes, Edited by Karen Tyler and Huxley Baberowski.

Collecting Insects and Plants

Thomas Bancroft collected insects and plants and sent thousands of specimens to lots of places, including; the Queensland Museum and Herbarium; the Bribie Fish Collection; and to other scientists around the world.

His daughter Josephine was born at Deception Bay in 1896, and as taught at home by her mother. From the time that she was very small, she helped her father and was aware of the secrets of nature. She was shown how to look in the scrub and the waters of the bay, under leaves and rocks, for the creatures that lived there. He gave her a microscope of her own, which she treasured for the rest of her life.

collecting insects and plants - the bancrofts

While they lived in Deception Bay, her father wrote lot of scientific papers, journal reports and talks for the Medical Society of Queensland and the Royal Society (in England).

By the time she was eight, she had never been to school but she was already introduced to the Bancroft tradition of scientific research and writing reports.

Collecting insects and plants

Thomas showed that hookworms could be picked up through the skin, and Josephine knew that where there were hookworms, you had to wear shoes so they didn’t get into you through your feet.

Fifty-six years later, she introduced the first successful treatment for hookworm to the Aboriginal children of Mornington Island, where all of the school children had been infected.


  • The Bancroft Tradition Edited by John Pearn and Lawarie Powell
  • The Bancrofts, Elizabeth Marks and Josephine Bancroft
  • The prepared Mind, Lesley Williams

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