Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

Charles Gabriel


Chemist, conchologist, naturalist

Personal Photo 1
Charles in 1901

Son of Joseph Gabriel, a chemist, and Elizabeth Baker, daughter of well-known Anglican layman Charles Baker, Charles Gabriel followed his father’s footsteps in the pharmacy profession as well as his interest in natural history.

Charles was registered as a pharmacist in 1902 and worked for his father at the chemist shop on the corner of Victoria Street and Charles Street in Abbotsford where the family had been living since the 1880s. Here he would live and work until the 1950s, taking over when his father retired, and finally moving to Malvern after his wife’s death.

In his teens he had studied drawing at the Collingwood School of Art; he was a keen collector of shells and presented a display of them at the Juvenile Industrial Exhibition 1896. Not all his pursuits were indoors; he was also a keen cricketer and was pictured, a handsome figure of a young man, in photos of winning teams at St Philip’s Church of England.

Gabriel was the first Victorian conchologist to seriously study and describe the land and freshwater molluscs of the state. His papers still form the basis for the study of non-marine molluscs in Victoria. He described 23 new non-marine taxa and made many new records and observations on the fauna. Altogether Gabriel published fifty papers on molluscs.

Gabriel was appointed honorary curator of shells at the National Museum of Victoria in 1903 and later honorary associate in conchology. He was awarded the Australian Natural History medallion in 1958 for his outstanding contribution to Australian malacology. His very extensive shell collection and library were bequeathed to the National Museum of Victoria. The collection, housed in four magnificent glass-fronted cabinets, contains items of incalculable value.

Life Summary

Birth DateBirth Place
28 May 1879Abbotsford
Spouse NameDate of MarriageChildren
Laura Violet Marian Vale (1878-1954)20 April 1910Two sons
Home Addresses
Home StreetHome CityStatus of Building
297 Victoria StreetAbbotsfordExtant
Work Addresses
Work StreetWork CityStatus of Building
297 Victoria StreetAbbotsfordExtant
St Philip's Anglican Church, Hoddle Street Abbotsford
Death DateDeath PlaceCemetery
19 June 1963Toorak

The Argus, Mercury and Weekly Courier, The Observer, Punch.

ADB Charles Gabriel

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