Pauline Neura Reilly

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Pauline Neura Reilly OAM (5 December 1918 – 22 April 2011) was an Australian author and ornithologist.

Early years[edit]

Reilly was born (as Pauline Duncan) in Adelaide. Her family moved to Melbourne where she attended Korowa Anglican Girls' School and Melbourne Girls Grammar School until 1934. Before the Second World War she worked as a secretary, then served from 1942 to 1944 as a gunner in the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, as well as working for Australian Army Intelligence. She married Arthur Reilly in 1943.


Reilly joined the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU) in 1956, which she served as Publicity Officer 1966–1967, on the Field Investigations Committee 1969–1972, as President 1972–1975, and as the Chair of the Atlas Committee 1976–1982. From 1969 to 1970 she was President of the Bird Banders' Association of Australia. From 1964 to 1981 she was the Honorary Regional Victorian Organiser of the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme. One of her main achievements with the RAOU was the instigation, leadership and successful conclusion of the RAOU's first Atlas of Australian Birds project, fieldwork for which ran from 1 January 1977 to 31 December 1981.

Reilly was actively involved in ornithological fieldwork for many years, especially in studies of little penguins. In 1968 she founded the Penguin Study Group of the Victorian Ornithological Research Group. In 1973 she led an expedition to the Great Australian Bight to carry out penguin research. In 1978–79 she became the first woman to spend the summer research season on subantarctic Macquarie Island to band penguins. She was invited to open the Second International Penguin Conference in August 1992.

In later years Reilly moved to Aireys Inlet on the Victorian coast where she concentrated on writing a series of scientifically accurate children's books about Australian birds and other animals, mainly illustrated first by Will Rolland and later by Kaylene Traynor.


Published works[edit]

  • Reilly, Pauline N. (1983). Fairy Penguins and Earthy People. Lothian Publishing Co: Melbourne, Australia. ISBN 0-85091-160-5
  • Blakers, Margaret; Davies, S.J.J.F.; & Reilly, Pauline N. (1984). The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne University Press: Carlton, Australia. ISBN 0-522-84285-2
  • Reilly, Pauline N. (1988). The Lyrebird. A natural history. Australian Natural History Series. NSW University Press: Kensington, Australia. ISBN 0-86840-083-1
  • Reilly, Pauline N. (1988). Private Lives. Ages, mates and movements of some Australian birds. Kangaroo Press: Kenthurst, Australia. ISBN 0-86417-149-8
  • Reilly, Pauline N. (1994). Penguins of the World. Oxford University Press: South Melbourne, Australia. ISBN 0-19-553547-2
  • Dann, Peter; Norman, Ian; & Reilly, Pauline. (Eds). (1995). The Penguins: Ecology and Management. Surrey Beatty & Sons: Chipping Norton, Australia. ISBN 0-949324-58-2
  • Reilly, Pauline. (2001). Cannabis and Cancer: Arthur's Story. Scribe Publications: Australia. ISBN 0-908011-61-X

Children's books[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Anon. (1981). RAOU Fellow: Citation. Pauline Neura Reilly. Emu 81: 253–254.
  • Faggetter, Rachel & Reilly, Brock (5 July 2011). "Bird watcher undeterred by setbacks". The Age: 16. 
  • Olsen, Penny. (2001). John Hobbs Medal 2001: Citation. Pauline Neura Reilly. Emu 101: 271.
  • Robin, Libby. (2001). The Flight of the Emu: a hundred years of Australian ornithology 1901–2001. Carlton, Vic. Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84987-3
  • "Pauline Reilly". Books and Authors. Scribe Publications. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  • Walker, Rosanne (25 May 2006). "Pauline Neura Reilly". Encyclipedia of Australian Science. Retrieved 27 April 2011.