An old metal hand printing press used for making specimen labels in the 1940's and 1950's.
The history of the Australian National Insect Collection
For more than 45 years the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) has been the focus of important research on insects.
1 September 2011 | Updated 28 March 2013
In 1926, the predecessor of CSIRO, the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), was formed as a result of the federal government's The Science and Industry Research Act.
By 1929, the buildings to house the early CSIR Divisions were completed and the Division of Economic Entomology (which became the Division of Entomology in the 1950s) had an official home in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
CSIR expeditions to collect and record Australia's insects began in 1929. The number of specimens from these expeditions, and from donated private collections, grew by the thousands each year. However, during the early days of CSIR, the 'Divisional Museum' consisted of various collections managed by different parts of the Division of Economic Entomology.
ANIC is born
In 1959, the large number of insect specimens began to be managed as a single unit. After years of discussion the name the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) was officially recognised on 8 March 1962 when it was gazetted by the Commonwealth Government. At the same time ANIC was acknowledged as part of Australia's national heritage with the Government accepting the responsibility for its preservation for future scientific study.
Insect collecting trips continued right through the 1960s and into the 1990s. Many remote parts of Australia were surveyed by CSIRO's entomologists and the number of specimens being housed in ANIC grew into the millions. The task of identifying and classifying the specimens saw the taxonomic capabilities of ANIC grow.
The highly skilled staff at ANIC have helped build ANIC's reputation as a world leader in insect taxonomy.
Due to the large amount of space required to house the Collection a permanent building was constructed during the late 1970s as part of the Division of Entomology in Canberra. In the early 1980s, ANIC moved and settled into the new building.
The highly skilled staff who have worked at ANIC throughout the years have helped build its reputation as a world leader in taxonomy. The highly valued specimens contained in ANIC are regularly studied by overseas visitors.
One of its future goals is to make the collection more accessible by using web-based technologies.
In 2010, the Divisions of Entomology and Sustainable Ecosystems merged to become the Division of Ecosystem Sciences.
A more detailed account of CSIRO Entomology and ANIC's history can be found in A Rich and Diverse Fauna by Mr Murray Upton, available from CSIRO PUBLISHING.
Learn more about the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC).