In the mid-nineteenth century European settlers discovered prehistoric vertebrates in the northern part of the Colony of New South Wales, which later became the State of Queensland in 1859. Most of these finds were dealt with by overseas professionals, of whom Richard Owen at the British Museum (Natural History) (BM(NH)) was pre-eminent. By the late nineteenth century Australian-based vertebrate palaeontologists, who were usually self-educated, were beginning to work on Australian material. At this time, under the direction of Charles Walter De Vis, the Queensland Museum in Brisbane became the focal point for this science in Queensland; a programme of collecting was initiated which continued as funds allowed. The early twentieth century saw a new phase of exploration undertaken with the specific objective of collecting, carried out by large overseas scientific institutions. Thanks mainly to individual donations, new finds kept appearing regularly in the first half of the twentieth century. As a result there were scientific contributions from a few notable people, Heber A. Longman for example. Yet vertebrate palaeontology in Queensland languished, following the fortunes of the Museum between wars and it did not flourish again until after the Second World War. Since then both trained and amateur palaeontologists have been on the increase, and greater financial assistance has been made available from private, and State and Commonwealth Government sources, allowing progress in this science to be made.

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