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Sir Edward Charles Stirling (1848-1919)
Papers 1884-1918

MSS 610.4 S86m

Biographical Note

Edward Charles Stirling at St Vigeans, Stirling, South Australia.  (Pictured in larger image with Professor Bensly, Lady Bragg, Sir William Bragg and Professor Henderson). Undated.Edward Charles Stirling was born at Strathalbyn and educated at St Peter's College, Adelaide, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. with Honours in Natural Science in 1870.  After attaining his M.D. in 1880, he was appointed house surgeon at St George's hospital, London, where he eventually became assistant surgeon and lecturer on physiology and operative surgery.  He returned to Adelaide in 1881 and in the following year was appointed Lecturer in Physiology at the newly established School of Medicine at the University of Adelaide, then becoming in 1900 Inaugural Professor of Physiology.  He fostered the development of the emerging Medical School and for many years played a prominent part in University affairs.

Stirling was a man of great energy with a wide range of interests.  He was appointed Chairman of the South Australian Museum Committee in 1884 and in 1889 became honorary Director of the Museum where he built up a remarkable collection of Aboriginal artifacts.  He stimulated interdisciplinary interest in Aboriginal and ethnological studies, encouraging the involvement of colleagues such as Dr William Ramsay Smith, Professor Archibald Watson, Dr A.A. Lendon, Dr W.L. Cleland (father of J.B. Cleland) and later Dr Robert Pulleine, Professor Frederic Wood Jones and Dr T.D. Campbell.

Stirling was also a member of several major expeditions.  He traveled overland with Earl Kintore from Port Darwin to Adelaide in 1890, collecting important ethnological specimens, and in 1894 joined the Horn Scientific Expedition to Central Australia.

He was a member of the Legislative Council in 1855 and 1857, member for North Adelaide in the House of Assembly from 1884 to 1887, and in 1886 introduced an unsuccessful bill to enfranchise women.  He was also President of the State Children's Council and was involved with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  Stirling was honorary fellow of the Anthropological Society of Great Britain, fellow of the Medical and Chirurgical Society, and was elected fellow of the Royal Society, London, in 1893.  He was created C.M.G. in 1893 and was knighted in 1917.

Stirling ranked amoung the best all-round scientists of his day in Australia and greatly influenced medical and anthropological studies in early 20th century South Australia.


Contents Listing

1. Medical science and social problems: inaugural address delivered at the opening of the seventh session of the Australasian Medical Congress, Adelaide, Sept.4, 1905. 25cm.

2. General elections, 1884: address delivered at the Temperance Hall, North Adelaide, March 28th, 1884. 22cm.

3. List of medical and scientific papers, by E.C. Stirling. 35cm.

4. Memorandum concerning the present [1918] condition of the Department of Physiology [University of Adelaide] 34cm.

5. Copy of letter of resignation as Professor of Physiology. 1918. 33cm.

6. Memoirs of the Royal Society of South Australia, v.1. pts.1-4, 1899-1913 (Stirling, E.C. and others. Fossil remains of Lake Callabonna)

Rare Books & Special Collections

The University of Adelaide
Rare Books & Special Collections
Level 1, Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


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