It having been considered desirable to ascertain accurately the natural productions of the Colony of Victoria, and to publish works descriptive of them, on the plan of those issued by the Governments of the different States of A merica, investigations were undertaken, by order of the Victorian Government, to determine the Geology, Botany, and Zoology of the Colony, to form collections illustrative of each for the public use, and to make the necessary preparations for such systematic publications on the subject as might be useful and interesting to the general public, and contribute to the advancement of science. As the geological and botanical investigations have already approached completion, and their publication is far advanced, it has been decided to now commence the publication of the third branch completing the subject, namely, that of the Zoology or indigenous members of the different classes of the animal kingdom. As the Fauna is not so well known as the Flora, it was a necessary preliminary to the publication to have a large number of drawings made, as opportunity arose, from the living or fresh examjjles of many species of reptiles, fish, and the lower animals, which lose their natural appearance shortly after death, and the true characters of many of which were consequently as yet unknown, as they had only been described from preserved specimens.
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