Illuminating Nature



Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson Street
Carlton, Victoria, 3053
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Rediscovering James Searle – Pioneer Limelight Artist and City Naturalist

Born in Carlton in 1861 to goldrush immigrant parents, James Searle developed an early interest in natural history, photography, microscopy and all things technical or scientific. After training as a watchmaker and instrument mechanic, he joined the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria in 1885, attending excursions and fieldtrips.

By 1890, he began regular appearances as 'projectionist' for the popular new entertainment of illustrated talks and lectures, being listed in Sands & McDougall Directory as a ‘lantern slide manufacturer’, ‘limelight artist and mechanist’.

Through these associations, Searle became a contributor to Museums Victoria, donating a diverse range of natural history specimens and technological artefacts over four decades.

Join Matthew Churchward and Lorenzo Iozzi to learn more about this fascinating man, who is intimately connected to Museums Victoria's history.

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