S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Wyndham, Mr Charles (ornithology)

Born: April 1871, Place not known.
Died: 24 January 1953, Butterworth, South Africa.

Charles Wyndham came to South Africa as a young man shortly before the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and worked as a war correspondent. Subsequently he was a journalist for several newspapers, including the Cape Times. His wife joined him in South Africa in 1902. In January 1911, following the formation of the Union of South Africa, he entered the civil service and on 1 May 1913 became first grade clerical assistant to the Provincial Council of the Cape Province. Later he joined the clerical staff of the House of Assembly, retiring around 1931. He and T.G. Duncan compiled three volumes of the Ordinances of the province of the Cape of Good Hope, covering the years 1911-1951. After his retirement he lived at Green Point, Cape Town. At the time of his death he was visiting one of his two daughters at Butterworth.

Wyndham was a member of the South African Ornithological Society. For many years he devoted nearly all his spare time and holidays to the study of birds and the collection of particularly nests and eggs. Thus he accumulated an exceptional knowledge of South African birds, though he published little. He continued collecting until a few days before his death. His specimens were carefully prepared and tended, the labelling precise and full, while interesting specimens were documented by photographs. He was probably the first to discover avocets and stilts as local breeding birds, and had beautiful photographs of these discoveries. Shortly after his death his collection was still in the hands of his family.

List of sources:
National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Wyndham, Charles / Wyndham, C.

Obituary: The late Charles Wyndham. The Ostrich, May 1953, Vol. 24, p. 73.

Union of South Africa. Public service list, 1914.

Compiled by: C. Plug