By Brittany Mitchell
William Aitcheson Haswell was a zoologist born on the 5th August 1854 in Edinburgh. He received his M.A in 1877, his B.Sc in 1878, and his D.Sc in 1887 at the University of Edinburgh. In the later 1870’s, Haswell visited Australia and met Sir William Macleay and together they started a zoological laboratory for marine organisms. Haswell was involved in various scientific projects across the globe from New Guinea, to our very own Great Barrier Reef.
In 1882, Haswell joined the University of Sydney as the first Challis Professor of Zoology and in his time advocated for the recognition of scientific endeavours at the University and in Australia as a whole. For some time Haswell held the Presidency of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales, and was made a fellow of the Royal Society in London. Although Haswell specialised in marine species (especially crustaceans), he published the Textbook of Zoology with Professor Parker from the University of Otago covering all zoological Phyla known at the time. This textbook was used in all undergraduate zoological teaching.
Unfortunately, William Haswell passed away in January of 1925 from heart disease. Despite this, the collection he made during his time at the university is still used in teaching today and holds over 7000 specimens representing most Phyla (vertebrate and invertebrate), with many specimens being over 100 years old!