• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0052

Fletcher, Jane Ada

(1870 – 1956)
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 18 September, 1870, Penshurst Victoria Australia
  • Died 15 April, 1956, Eaglehawk Neck Tasmania Australia
  • Occupation Ornithologist, Poet


Jane Fletcher published a number of books on nature and nature study, and broadcast on 7ZL Hobart and 3LO Melbourne. In 1934 she became the first woman to lecture to the Royal Society of Tasmania. She was an outstanding bird observer with a particular interest in crakes and rails.


Jane Fletcher began work on an aunt’s farm in Wilmot, north-western Tasmania, from 1892-96. From 1896 she worked as a sewing teacher (initially without pay) at West Kentish Primary School. By 1899 she had qualified as a head teacher and was appointed to set up a school at Upper Wilmot. She later taught at Cleveland (Tasmania), Springfield, Woodbridge and Forcett.

Fletcher undertook fieldwork for Gregory Mathews (q.v.) until 1936. She was the first woman to deliver a lecture to the Royal Society of Tasmania (in 1934), of which she was a member. She was a foundation member in 1901 – and life member from 1945 – of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union.

She wrote a number of children’s books, including Stories from Nature (London, 1915) and Little Brown Piccaninnies of Tasmania (Sydney, 1950), her most popular children’s book. She also wrote books and articles for adults on Tasmanian history, Aborigines and ornithology, her final book being Tasmania’s Own Birds (1956).

On retirement, Fletcher opened part of her house at Eaglehawk Neck as a Youth Hostel.


Published resources

Archival resources

  • John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection
    • OM67-02 Jane Ada Fletcher Papers 1915; 1917; 1933; 1939