Gracius Joseph Broinowski (7 March 1837 – 11 April 1913) was an Australian artist and ornithologist. He was born at the village of Walichnowy, in Poland, the son of a landowner and military officer.
He studied languages, classics and art at the Munich University. In about 1857 he joined the crew of a windjammer bound for Australia, leaving the ship at Portland, Victoria.
Broinowski spent the next few years doing various jobs, including working for a publisher in Melbourne, selling and promoting his paintings, and travelling widely in eastern Australia.
He married Jane Smith, the daughter of a whaling captain, in about 1863. In 1880 he settled in Sydney, teaching painting, lecturing on art and holding exhibitions of his own work.
In the 1880s he began to publish illustrated works on Australian natural history. First came "The Birds and Mammals of Australia", followed in 1888 by "The Cockatoos and Nestors of Australia and New Zealand", and "The Birds of Australia" in 1891.
The Birds of Australia is an illustrated book depicting Australian birds. It comprises six parts of 303 full-page, folio-sized, chromolithographed illustrations of over 700 species of Australian birds, with accompanying descriptive text.
Publication date: 1890-1891
Birds of Australia is by far his best known work though not in the class of Gould or Mathews, it is nevertheless an interesting work and an important addition to any collection of Australian ornithology.
The plates at their best, such as those of the pigeons and cockatoos, are very good.
Broinowski died at Mosman in Sydney, survived by his wife, six sons and a daughter. One son, Leopold, became a significant political journalist in Tasmania.
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