Ross Ian Storey Graduate Scholarship

Ross on the patio of his beloved home in Mareeba, 2007 

Ross on the patio of his beloved home in Mareeba, 2007


Ross Ian Storey was born and grew up in Victoria, B.C., and obtained his BSc at the University of Victoria. Shortly after graduating, Ross moved to Australia. He was gregarious, had a positive attitude, had outrageous tastes in music, loved a beer, had strong political views, and followed sports, from ice hockey to cricket. 

Ross worked at the Department of Primary Industries, in Mareeba, Queensland, on the Atherton Tableland just west of Cairns. There, he developed an interest in Australian dung beetles, an interest he was to pursue for his entire career. Ross loved his home in Mareeba, often describing it as ‘the center of the universe’, and he lived there for the rest of his life. At the DPI, he developed a reference insect collection, and provided taxonomic support for all aspects of Northern Queensland entomology.

At 16, Ross was diagnosed with a rare muscle-wasting disease called ‘Inclusion Body Myositis’. The progressive disease leads to a loss of muscle function, with eventual complete loss of mobility and respiratory failure. Ross never let the disease slow him down. He bought a 4WD Subaru, put a camper on the roof, and set out for years on field trips to remote parts of Cape York, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia.

His work led to the discovery of a new genera, and a new tribe to accommodate them (e.g. Storey and Howden 1996). The meticulous collection he built up at DPI was an invaluable resource for work by many other entomologists in Northern Queensland. Ross also co-authored the book ‘A Field Guide to Australian Insects’, (Zoborowski and Storey 1995) which has had great success, with several reprintings.

In his later years, though now confined to a wheelchair, Ross co-founded ASDOGS, an organization that trains dogs to aid the disabled, and was very active in speaking out for the rights of the disabled in Mareeba.

Despite his handicap, Ross made an enormous contribution to Australian Entomology, with more than 35 publications. He described 4 new genera and 59 new species, and 56 species, 3 genera, and 1 sub-family have been named in his honour.

Ross died at Cairns Hospital, of pneumonia and complications from his disease, on June 14, 2008, at the age of 59.

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