Fortunately these days trade in Australian wildlife is highly regulated and in many cases prohibited. This item appeared in 1845, before such rules and laws were in place to protect native species. Follow ups on Mr Roach and his business lead to a more disturbing find.
In 1843, J W Roach was advertising his taxidermy museum and aviary in the Australasian Chronicle. It read in part:
“The collection already contains, amongst others, some hundred specimens of the birds and animals of Australia, set up, and arranged in their most natural and pleasing forms. The want of such a repository has long been felt by the scientific and curious, and J. W. R. trusts that his collection, to which he respectfully invites the attention of the public, will meet the approbation of all who are engaged in the interesting and pleasing study of the most beautiful and perfect works of the Creator.”
In 1849, Roach was leaving the colony and instructed auctioneer Charles Newton to sell household goods and stock in trade. Sydney Morning Herald – 3 September 1849
Items and ‘curiosities’ for sale from his museum and aviary are found in the auction notice. Distressingly, listed near the bottom of this ad is this – “a number of skulls of the natives of the various islands which will be found well worthy the attention of phrenologists“
No words can atone for some past behaviours in the name of ‘science’.