Macleay Collections, Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Macleay Collections, Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name

  • Macleay Museum, Sydney University Museums
  • MAMU


  • University

Contact area


Senior Curator (Jude Philp)



Street address

Chau Chak Wing Museum, F21 University Place, University of Sydney, Camperdown




New South Wales

Country name

Postal code



02 9036 6486



Description area


Established from the 1790s collections of New South Wales Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay, successive members of the family extended the specimen/object collections throughout the nineteenth century.

Archives include original material and copies of documents in the Public Record Office, Kew, London, Linnean Society of London and Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney and the University Archives, Sydney University.

Geographical and cultural context

  • Australian and international natural history collecting.
  • Late nineteenth century museum history.
  • Late nineteenth and early twentieth century scientific instrument manufacturers.

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Senior Curator, Macleay Collections
Curator, Science, Curatorial Assistant (Science), Curator Natural History, Curator Ethnography, Curator of Indigenous Heritage and University Repatriation project officer.

Records management and collecting policies

Material concerning Macleay family, or their collectors, especially their natural history activities. Some original material with mostly copies of documents in Parliament of New South Wales, Public Record Office, Kew, London and Linnean Society of London.


F21 Chau Chak Wing Museum.


Macleay collections represent a wide range of material related to the collecting activities of its donors and benefactors along with the activities of the museum since its establishment in 1892.

Archival holdings are tied to the collection strengths, that is:

  • The ethnography collection includes significant material documenting cultural and social life acquired from Indigenous peoples of Australia and the Pacific region during the pre-colonial, colonial and early post-colonial periods.

  • The natural history collection includes an extraordinary natural history collection that encompasses several branches of entomological, vertebrate and invertebrate orders. Highlights include 2,350 holotypes of insect, bird and mammal specimens. Its great strength is the amount of foreign material, unparalleled in Australia by age or comprehensiveness.

  • The scientific instruments and apparatus collection consists primarily of objects used by University departments – in particular by chemistry, engineering, geosciences, physics and biological sciences, and the Sydney Teachers College. The collection reflects the history of science.

  • The historic photograph collection comprises photographs documenting life in Australia and the Pacific region, from the 1840s to the 1960s, as captured by both commercial and amateur photographers. It includes a wide range of photographic formats. A representative collection of historic photographic equipment is held in the scientific instruments and apparatus collection.

The collections reflecting the work of Russian N Miklouho-Maclay overlap these collecting areas.

Finding aids, guides and publications

Museum: the Macleays, their collections and the search for order / Robyn Stacey and Ashley Hay

Access area

Opening times

  • Public museum: Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 10am-5pm; Thursday, 10am-9pm; Saturday-Sunday 12-4pm.
  • Archival material: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, by appointment.
  • Collection material: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, by appointment.

Access conditions and requirements

An appointment time must be arranged in advance of a visit. Entitlements to access records held by the Macleay Collections vary. It is essential that you discuss your research with the relevant curator to determine whether records are available for your use.

Under the State Records Act 1998 (NSW), a closed period of 30 years applies.

Visitors are required to complete a research request form.


Visitors who may need a wheelchair or access to print or audio material or who need to bring a companion animal with them, should ask at the front desk of the Chau Chak Wing Museum for further information and/or ring in advance on 02 9351 2812.

Services area

Research services

Curators will assist you with advice on relevant records held by the Museum which may be of use to you and provide guidance on the use of the collection and access to them.

Staff cannot undertake research on your behalf. If you are unable to carry out your own research, we advise you to obtain the services of a professional researcher who can conduct the research for you.

Reproduction services

Decisions on the reproduction of material are made on a case-by-case basis with reference to security issues, copyright, and privacy and moral rights connected to the given records.

Public areas

Material from the Macleay Museum Collections are exhibited throughout the Chau Chak Wing Museum.

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised 6 August 2022




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Thematic area)
  • Agriculture (Thematic area)
  • Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
  • Built Environment (Thematic area)
  • Communication (Thematic area)
  • Education (Thematic area)
  • Environment (Thematic area)
  • Family / Domestic Life (Thematic area)
  • Geography (Thematic area)
  • Science and Technology (Thematic area)
  • Travel and Exploration (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

Chau Chak Wing Museum, F21 University Place, University of Sydney, Camperdown
Sydney, New South Wales 2006