Jess Ey (1916 - 2014) Allan Ey (1917 -2004)
How we started
Birds, butterflies, moths and shells featured largely in the lives of Allan and Jess Ey. From early childhood Allan was an avid birdwatcher who classified, photographed and wrote about birds for nature magazines. Throughout his life he maintained that interest and was credited with bringing new species to scientific attention. Married in Millicent, South Australia, Allan and Jess travelled north with the idea of shearing some sheep and enjoying ornithology. Arriving by train in Ayr in 1946, stranded for ten days by big floods, the Eys were initially unimpressed with Ayr. They travelled farther north seeking employment opportunities only to return to Ayr later in the year to buy a cane farm at Airville.
In his spare time, with the family in tow, Allan travelled all over north Queensland studying birdlife.
However, Allan's interest widened to include shells, butterflies and moths. Soon there were so many specimens about the house that the Eys decided to exhibit their collection. In May 1966, the Ayr Nature Display was opened to the public. Being an avid nature lover, Allan's vision was to collect, record and display Australian wildlife. Allan stated, "The display has been put together entirely by us. With the exception about five percent of the shells, the whole display is our own collecting, in a bid to show the public true native Australian fauna - that is fauna that has not been introduced. The work is entirely Australian and we believe, unique in concept and content." The display remains in family hands.