The Queensland Natural History Award for 2008 was presented to Ray Leggett.
Raymond Leggett is a very well known member of the Queensland Naturalists Club, having been president on three occasions with a total of 14 years on QNC council. Many members have benefited from Ray’s broad interests in Queensland’s natural history, but in particular his expertise in ichthyology.
Since 1950 Ray has collected nearly 8000 freshwater fish specimens from Queensland of 99 species. His major study areas have included southeast Queensland, the west coast of Cape York, the Burdekin River, Lake Broadwater, Musselbrook, White Mountains, Iron and McIlwraith Ranges as well as the Kimberly in Western Australia. Much of this fieldwork was undertaken at his own expense.
His contribution to ichthyology has been recognised by having a fish named after him, Glossolepis leggetti.
Ray has achieved the captive breeding of 189 species of freshwater fish from Australia and internationally. In 1987 he was senior author of a book Australian Native Fishes for Aquariums. He has also contributed many papers on fish as well as other vertebrates for the Queensland Naturalist. He is also a regular contributor of natural history notes in QNC News and The Maple Leaf (the Mapleton community monthly newsletter).
Ray was actively involved in the establishment of the Australian and New Guinea Fish Association and is currently or previously an active member of the Aquarium and Terrarium Society, Queensland Finch Society, Society for Growing Australian Plants and the Royal Geographic Society of Queensland.
Ray has always been enthusiastic in sharing his knowledge of natural history. He spent ten years at the Queensland Museum as an Interpretive Officer staffing the reference desk answering numerous public enquiries. He has a great ability to communicate with people of all ages as often demonstrated on QNC outings. The Surat Public Aquarium, designed by Ray, is another example of his contribution to increasing the public’s awareness of natural ecosystems.
The Queensland Natural History Award recognises persons who have made outstanding contributions to understanding Queensland’s natural history. Ray Leggett is clearly a suitable recipient as demonstrated by his highly valuable ichthyological collections, publications and contributions to natural history organisation; much of which has been achieved as a non-professional at his own expense. Over many years Ray has enthusiastically passed on his knowledge and experience of natural history to others, undoubtedly opening the eyes and ears of many to the wonders of Queensland’s natural history.