- Also known as
Capt Owen Stanley
primary name: Stanley, Owen
- individual; military/naval; collector; English; Male
- Life dates
- Owen Stanley (1811 – 1850) - nephew of Lord Edward John Stanley of Alderley (q.v.) - was a naval Captain and oceanographic surveyor. Stanley began his career aged 15 with worldwide surveying expeditions which took him into arctic waters where he carried out astronomical and magnetic observations. In 1838 he received his own command (the ‘Britomart’) travelling to the East Indies and Australasian waters. Although principally engaged in surveying, Stanley was appointed magistrate and commissioner of crown lands following the establishment of the British colony at Port Essington (Northern Australia) and was highly commended for his diplomatic role in resolving a potential dispute over French land settlement claims in New Zealand. He returned to England - via Singapore (1841) en route to fighting in Burma– and achieved the rank of captain in 1844. In 1846 he took command of the survey ship Rattlesnake, eventually sailing in its 1847 -1850 Pacific voyage, with the naturalists T. H. Huxley (q.v.) and J. MacGillivray (q.v.), to survey New Guinea and Australian east coast and Torres Strait waters. On a survey mission off the south-east coast of New Guinea, Stanley contracted an illness from which he died in Sydney in1850. The Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea commemorates him.
The Museum has 252 objects donated by Stanley, all from Oceania - the large majority of which (215) were collected by him from Papua New Guinea on the ‘Rattlesnake’ voyage – principally from the Brumer Islands, the Louisiade Archipelago and the Redscar area of Central Province. Most of the other objects donated by Stanley come from the north-eastern Australian Torres Strait area.
- Francis West, 'Stanley, Owen (1811 - 1850)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne University Press, 1967, pp 470-471. http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A020436b.htm
John MacGillivray 1852, 'Narrative Of The Voyage Of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By The Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During The Years 1846-1850. Including Discoveries And Surveys In New Guinea, The Louisiade Archipelago, Etc. To Which Is Added The Account Of Mr. E.B. Kennedy's Expedition For The Exploration Of The Cape York Peninsula'.