Moyal, Ann 1926–
Moyal, Ann 1926–
(Ann Mozley Moyal)
PERSONAL: Born 1926. Education: Educated at University of Sydney.
ADDRESSES: Home—Canberra, Australia. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Australian Scholarly Publishing, P.O. Box 299, Kew, 3101 Victoria, Australia.
CAREER: Historian and writer. Griffith University, Queensland, Australia, former director of Science Policy Research Centre; held research and teaching positions at Australian Academy of Science, Australian National University, University of Sydney, and New South Wales Institute of Technology.
MEMBER: Australian Science History Club, Independent Scholars Association of Australia (founder and past president).
(Editor) Scientists in Nineteenth-Century Australia: A Documentary History, Cassell Australia (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1976.
Science Technology, and Society in Australia: A Bibliography, Griffith University (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), 1978.
Clear across Australia: A History of Telecommunications, Nelson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1984.
(Editor) Portraits in Science, National Library of Australia (Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia), 1994.
Breakfast with Beaverbrook: Memoirs of an Independent Woman, Hale & Iremonger (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1995.
Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World, Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, DC), 2001.
(Editor) The Web of Science: The Scientific Correspondence of the Rev. W.B. Clarke, Australia's Pioneer Geologist, Australian Scholarly Publishing (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Australian author Ann Moyal has worked as an historian for a number of years, specializing in Australian science, technology, and telecom-munications. She has also worked for many years as a researcher and academic at Australian universities. Moyal is the author and editor of numerous books regarding the history of science, including 1984's Clear across Australia: A History of Telecommunications, 1986's A Bright and Savage Land: Scientists in Colonial Australia, and 1995's Breakfast with Beaverbrook: Memoirs of an Independent Woman, which is Moyal's autobiography. Moyal is also the founder and past president of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia, and has served as an honorary editor of Search and Prometheus.
One of Moyal's best-known works is 2001's Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World. This work examines the scientific history of the platypus, from its introduction to the scientific community in the late eighteenth century through the late nineteenth century. As the author explains, many important scientists of that time were baffled by the unique and uncharted platypus, namely Charles Darwin and George Bennett. Moyal follows a chronological sequence and intertwines the change in scientific theories about the platypus with the change in evolutionary theory. The book also contains black-and-white illustrations, color plates, stories, and poems related to the platypus. With this work, "The reader will learn not only about the platypus, but also the history of science in categorizing living beings," observed Nola Theiss in a review for Kliatt.
Overall, critics had much to praise in Platypus. Antipodes contributor Wendy Varney considered Moyal's work to have a widespread appeal that a variety of readers could embrace. "It is a book that will appeal to those interested in the history and philosophy of science, those wishing to know a little more of the history of colonial relations between Britain and Australia and those who are simply after a 'good read,'" wrote Varney. Frank E. Fish, in a review for the Quarterly Review of Biology, found the book to be a significant contribution to literature regarding this enigmatic animal. "From an historical perspective, Moyal has done a exceptional job in documenting the impact of the platypus," commented Fish.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Moyal, Ann, Breakfast with Beaverbrook: Memoirs of an Independent Woman, Hale & Iremonger (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1995.
Antipodes, June 2002, Wendy Varney, review of Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World, p. 92.
Booklist, August 2001, Nancy Bent, review of Platypus, p. 2066.
Journal of Australian Studies, March 2002, Pia van Ravenstein, review of Platypus, p. 213.
Kliatt, May 2005, Nola Theiss, review of Platypus, p. 47.
Library Journal, September 1, 2001, Marianne Stowell, review of Platypus, p. 220.
Natural History, November 2001, review of Platypus, p. 86.
Publishers Weekly, July 16, 2001, review of Platypus, p. 170.
Quarterly Review of Biology, September 2002, Frank E. Fish, review of Platypus, p. 310.
University of Melbourne's Australian Science Archives Project Web site, http://www.asap.unimelb.edu.au/ (September 21, 2005), biographical information on Ann Moyal.