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​The W L Crowther Collection

Sir William Crowther Hobart 1979On April 8 1964, Dr William Crowther donated his large collection of books, manuscripts, pictures and objects to the State Library of Tasmania. This generous gift shows his passion for Tasmanian history and his determination for saving records that now paint a rich picture of colonial life.

Born in Hobart in 1887 William Edward Lodewyck Hamilton Crowther was a fourth-generation Tasmanian. Like his great grandfather, grandfather and father he was a medical practitioner. During World War 1, he served with distinction as an army medical officer at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Among the family papers he donated was extensive material about his military service, including the diaries he kept throughout the war.

Dr Crowther's interest in collecting began at a young age, and continued throughout his life. His early focus was on Tasmanian history. This focus broadened and he collected across many subjects including medical and maritime history, anthropology, natural history and Antarctic exploration. A particular interest was the history of the Tasmanian whaling industry including logbooks, whaling tools and scrimshaw.

His manuscript collections include records of the Derwent Bank and papers of many early colonial notables. These include​ sealer James Kelly, financier Charles Swanston and doctor and naturalist George Fordyce Story.

This "rich harvest of a long life" remains one of the most generous gifts to the people of Tasmania.

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Explore the W L Crowther Collection

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