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Duckhouse, Derek Anthony (1933-2014) 

MSS 0236

Biographical note

Dereck Duckhouse was born in 1933 in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, England. He began school at the Quakers school, St Christopher’s and completed his O levels at Welwyn Grammar School.  He was accepted to study zoology at University College London but, due to war damage, studied at the University of Leicester in a partnership arrangement. He completed his PhD on freshwater ecology in 1957, which sparked his life-long interest in psychodid flies. Derek met his future wife, Sylvia, at a University dance: the beginning of a 60 year partnership.

They moved to Australia where Derek was appointed as lecturer at the Dept of Biology (the forerunner of the Dept of Zoology) at the University of Adelaide. His first research was on mites, before switching interest to psychodids or moth flies, becoming a world authority on the species. His collecting of specimens often took him to South America and included visits to Costa Rica, Ecuador and Chile.

Derek was a passionate advocate for the environment and other causes. He backed the American Professor of Zoology, Clyde Maxwell, in a dispute with the South Australian Government in the 1970s over fruit fly spraying, and battled with University administration over asbestos in the Fisher Building in the early 1990s. Derek and Sylvia also became immersed in the anti-Vietnam War protests, Derek editing the Adelaide newsletter among other activities.

Derek retired from the University of Adelaide in 1998.

Adapted from the eulogy by Dr James Wallman.

These papers were donated to the Library by Catherine Buddell, assisting the executors of the Duckhouse estate, in March 2018.


Series 1. University of Leicester

Botany and Zoology notebooks, including notes and drawings of specimens, 1951

Series 2. University of Adelaide

Testimonials for Derek Duckhouse from

  • Richard Bishop, Warden, University College of Leicester, 1957
  • J. Moody, Lecturer in Zoology, University of Leicester, 1958
  • P. Martin, Lecturer in Biology, University of Adelaide, 19583

D.A. Duckhouse. 25 years’ service medal, University of Adelaide, 1986. With letter and photograph of presentation by Dame Roma Mitchell.

Series 3. Research files

3.1. 1984 correspondence with David Lee of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at the University of Sydney about the acquisition and provenance of the Taylor correspondence and other material. .5 cm.

3.2. Correspondence files of Dr Frank H. Taylor ca 1925 - 1945
Frank Taylor was Entomologist at The Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine in Townsville from 1925-30 and then with the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at the University of Sydney. Much of the correspondence is related to the distribution and identification of Diptera and mosquito specimens and investigations into malaria, and a new species of "scrub itch-mite" and its importance as a possible vector of Mossman fever. Correspondents include F.W. Edwards, C.P. Alexander, Joseph Charles Bequaert and the British Museum

  • ‘Personal’ correspondence files of F.H. Taylor, arranged alphabetically. 2 lever arch files. 16 cm. Annotated by Derek Duckhouse

3.3. Early correspondence of A.L. Tonnoir

  • Letter to Tonnoir as research student from R.W. Cilento, Director of the Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine, 1922, re Pericoma townsvillensis
  • Letter to Tonnoir? from Henry Priestly of the University of Sydney, 1922, re Taylor’s Pericom
  • 6 letters from F.W. Edwards to A.L. Tonnoir 1927-1930, with photograph of Tonnoir
  • 5 letters between Tonnoir and G. Dennes of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Townsville, 1927-28 re identification of species of Psychodidae, Phlebotomus queenslandi and other species
  • Letter to Tonnoir from Harrison G. Dyar, Smithsonian Institute, 1927
  • Letter to Tonnoir from F.D. Klyver, San Mateo, California, 1932
  • Letter to Dr J. Feuerboen, Zoologisches Institut, Munster, 1922?
  • Typescript: Acephaleus larva of a Nematocerous Dipterea: the early stages of Canthyloscelis (Dipt. Scatopsidae) / A.L. Tonnoir, Canterbury Museum

3.4. Other

  • Ms and typescript notes on Tetmatoscopus? Townsvillensis – Taylor, Pericoma Punctulata sp. N and others

Series 4. Biographical

Derek Anthony Duckhouse.

  • Eulogy by Dr James Wallman 22 January 2014
  • Honouring a Life: funeral service recording, Centennial Park 22 January 2014. 1 CD.
  • Funeral Service music. 1 CD.

Series 5. Other

Photographic montages: “The Duckhouse Collection” Artwork by Catherine Buddle, photography by Grant Hancock. 5 photographs on card, 45x32 cm.  In Map Cabinet

  • Collecting paraphernalia
  • Insect box
  • Pinned Psychodids
  • Psychodid Slide Collection
  • Psychodid Taxonomic Illustrations

Cheryl Hoskin
September 2020

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