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  • Philip Spradbery
  • About XCS
    List of Consultants
    List of Publications
  • Wasps
    Euro Wasp Ecos
    European Wasp
    Wasps in ACT
    Paper Wasps
    Potter Wasps
    Paper Wasps of Canberra
  • Screw-worm Fly
    SWF Two Species
    Diagnostics Manual
    SWF Surveillance
    SWF Barge Facility
    Risk Management
    Chemical Control
  • Spiders of ACT
  • Press Articles
  • Yachts & Sailing
    Modern Marina
    Paradise in PNG
    Papua History
  • My Motors
  • Sprad Artworks
  • Walter E. Spradbery
  • Links & Video
  • Late News PDF

Welcome to the Philip Spradbery website which covers my professional interests as an entomologist and science communicator and also a variety of extra-curricular activities.

The website provides an entry to the titles of my scientific publications as well as popular science and associated press articles. There are also several stories about sailing and an introduction to the history of boating in Port Moresby. A longstanding interest in motor cars is covered pictorially.

A lifelong passion for painting, printing and sculpture gives me an opportunity to display my wares on the website and also introduce a cousin, Walter E. Spradbery, to those who have not heard of this eminent artist and pacifist.

You will need a PDF reader to open and view the many subjects in the Contents and Links on the left. If you do not have a PDF Reader, please click here [Get Acrobat Reader] to download the latest FREE version.


With tongue firmly in cheek, I can suggest that I am a modest man but I have a lot to be modest about... (modified by Gough Whitlam from an original quote by Winston Churchill)


I have been a practicing scientist now for more than half a century since beginning my degree course in Zoology at Queen Mary, University of London, in 1956.

After postgraduate studies at Rothamsted Research I became a qualified research entomologist and joined the European-based CSIRO Sirex Woodwasp Biological Control project.

I remained with CSIRO Entomology for 40 years (1963-2003) although the last 15 years were as an Honorary Research Fellow.

More than 100 publications, several books and book chapters later, I am still engaged in full-time research, exploring chemical communication in social wasps, utilizing the abundant and notorious European wasp in Canberra.

My research life has involved working in 35 different countries worldwide, including more than a decade in Papua New Guinea working on screw-worm fly - how fortunate is that for a biologist!

My company, XCS Consulting, manages the European Wasp Awareness and Insect Identification Service for the Australian Capital Territory.

> Click here to DOWNLOAD PDF file: Resume.pdf
   (A4, 8 pages - 2.6 mb)

During the financial purges at CSIRO in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the concept of a loose consortium of independent consultants had considerable appeal - as scientist colleagues were rendered redundant, discarded by the organisation, many joined me to form XCS Consulting in 1993.

With up to 70 names on the register at times, the company was competitive with other agencies in bidding for research projects - and without the excessive bureaucracy and overheads of the parent organizations.

Our skills base was extraordinary, with eminent entomologists, well-known wool researchers and a great depth of experience in veterinary science and also biological control and in-depth dung beetle expertise.


Collectively, our consultants have worked in more than 50 countries on all continents, including the Antarctic.

> Click here to DOWNLOAD PDF file:
   About XCS.pdf (A4, 2 pages - 464k)
> Click here to DOWNLOAD PDF file: List of Consultants.pdf
   (A4, 18 pages - 2.4 mb)
> Click here to DOWNLOAD PDF file: List of Publications.pdf
   (A4, 5 pages - 1.4 mb)

My scientific studies began with social wasps and will conclude with them, it seems. Nearly 60 years of studying the social behaviour of wasps and hornets in Europe, Australia and Papua New Guinea has proved a very productive and exciting field of enquiry and with very little competition from other colleagues - an advantage of working with an animal that can cause pain or even death and has modest commercial value! Virtually all my wasp research has been done as a privateer with little or no outside monies, scholarships or consultancy income. The only exception was my postgraduate studies at Rothamsted on an Agricultural Research Council scholarship (thank you, Professor Vincent Wigglesworth!). The European wasp awareness program in Canberra these past six years has helped fund and provide material for my current research.

The WASP book published in 1973 was a significant highlight in my waspish career, but if we can define the chemical identity of the sterilizing pheromone in the European wasp, that will be the pinnacle, the culmination of a lifetime and especially the past 20 years research into queen control of reproductive physiology in social wasps.

> Download PDF file: Waspologist.pdf (A4, 1 pages - 364 k)
> Download PDF file: Euro Wasp Ecos.pdf (A4, 5 pages - 1.5 mb)
> Download PDF file: European Wasp.pdf (A4, 4 pages - 1.8 mb)
> Download PDF file: Wasps in ACT.pdf (A4, 4 pages - 1.9 mb)
> Download PDF file: Paper Wasps.pdf (A4, 3 pages - 928 k)
> Download PDF file: Potter Wasps.pdf (A4, 3 pages - 932 k)
> Download PDF file: Paper Wasps of Canberra.pdf (A4, 3 pages - 844 k)

The most damaging entomological threat to Australia's livestock industries in the tropics and sub-tropics is the screw-worm fly. The Old World screw-worm fly species (Chrysomya bezziana) is widely distributed in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea at our very doorstep.

If accidentally introduced, costs to the industry, unless a prompt and effective response is taken, have been estimated to be about AUD$1 billion per annum. The pest is also a threat to humans, companion animals and wildlife with all warm-blooded animals susceptible to this flesh-eating fly. The New World screw-worm fly (Cochliomyia hominivorax) of the America's has been eradicated from the USA and Central America, and also from Libya in North Africa in 1991 after an accidental introduction in 1988.

The use of the sterile insect release method (SIRM) or sterile insect technology (SIT) was developed and deployed by the USDA and UN Agencies and has been eminently successful. The technique has also been evaluated to combat the Old World species by CSIRO and is currently being proposed for an eradication program in the Middle East.

> Download PDF: SWF-Two Species.pdf (A4, 42 pages - 3.9 mb)
> Download PDF: SWF-Diagnostics Manual.pdf (A4, 85 pages - 1.6 mb)
> Download PDF: SWF-Surveillance.pdf (A4, 2 pages - 744 k)
> Download PDF: SWF-Barge Facility.pdf (A4, 3 pages - 556 k)
> Download PDF: SWF-Risk Management.pdf (A4, 7 pages - 984 k)
> Download PDF: SWF-Chemical Control.pdf (A4, 40 pages - 356 k)

Many people have a dislike or superstition of spiders, but spiders perform a very important ecological role in controlling many insect pests. Someone estimated that the weight of insects eaten by spiders every year is greater than the weight of the total human race!

In Australia, there are about 2,000 different spider species, most unlikely to be seen by us as they are mainly hidden away in the daytime and hunt for their prey at night.

Very few have lethal bites but species of Funnel webs and the Redback spider are two and they both occur in the Australian Capital Territory.


The information presented here comes from the CSIRO Entomology booklet, 'Some Common Spiders of the ACT' prepared by Russell Moran and illustrated by Anne Hastings in 1988. It has been revised by Russell Moran for this website.

> Click here to DOWNLOAD PDF file: Spiders in ACT.pdf
   (A4, 9 pages - 1.1 mb)

Different media outlets provide a conduit that connects specialists, be they scientists or sailors, car or sports enthusiasts, with an interested and often non-specialized or unqualified public. None of us are specialists at everything - even within our specialized subjects - hence the value of the 'New Scientist' or 'Australian Sailing' magazines, for example.

I have always been a firm believer in talking about my scientific interests with the public, starting with children's TV programs in UK in the early 1960s, talks to community groups and schools, news and current affairs interviews for radio, TV and the print media. Articles for popular journals such as Air Niugini's in-flight magazine, 'Paradise', proved a good vehicle for showing off colour photos (see WASPS).

Running the European Wasp Awareness program for the A.C.T. Government in Canberra for the past six years makes it mandatory for me to get on the box and radio and cajole the local press to run stories on the wasp. By raising awareness and understanding in this way we seem to be having some influence in reducing the adverse impact of this urban pest - but only time will tell how effective we have been.

> Click here to DOWNLOAD PDF file: Press Articles.pdf
   (A4, 19 pages - 3.6 mb)

Links to other sites of interest...


Serious sailing began for me on arrival in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1971. Buying a 28-foot keel boat and learning to sail was a high point in my life. Sailing with friends on Weeneon the Derwent and beyond was memorable. A honeymoon cruise to Bruny Island on my Naiad III was even more so.

My interest in boats continued in Papua New Guinea with Caprice a 25 footer and then Even a 60-footer and previous Line Honours winner in the 1955 Sydney-Hobart Race. A 21-foot workboat and a Heron dinghy were also added to the owner's list.

I was in different Executive positions at the Royal Papua Yacht Club during my 12 years in PNG. During this time we installed a floating marina, represented PNG in a variety of overseas yachting events and hosted many international regattas in Moresby.

Two Sydney-Hobart races added to the experience. Broadening the sailing pleasures were cruises in Europe and visits to the 1983 and 1987 America's Cups. Read more...

> Download PDF file: Yachts & Sailing.pdf (A4, 7 pages - 2.5 mb)
> Download PDF file: Americas Cup.pdf (A4, 85 pages - 1.6 mb)
> Download PDF file: Modern Marina.pdf (A4, 4 pages - 788 k)
> Download PDF file: Paradise in PNG.pdf (A4, 3 pages - 1.2 mb)
> Download PDF file: Papua History.pdf (A4, 4 pages - 876 k)
> Download PDF file: Canberra YC.pdf (A4, 3 pages - 1.1 mb)

Like any young man living in England I wanted a sports car. I was fortunate to be able to buy an MG TA roadster in 1955 while finishing my degree course in London - thanks to parents who had saved some money for me when times were difficult, although I think their ambitions for Philip's future fund did not include sports cars!

Many different sports and other cars were bought, worked on and exchanged for better ones until I was the proud owner of an Austin Healey 3000 Mk III BJ8 which joined me in Tasmania when I moved to Australia with my CSIRO work in 1971.


My 12 years in Papua New Guinea were a fallow period for sports cars but I now have a bright red MGB roadster in the garage for my maturing years.

> Download PDF file: My Motors.pdf
   (A4, 6 pages - 2.1 mb)

Ever since school days when I was given every encouragement to paint and draw I have had an interest in making art. Although my old school's ambition for me to study at the Slade School of Art in London never eventuated, I was able to utilize my abilities, such as they were, to help me as a biologist and amateur journalist.

My school pictures earned some praise from the Royal Drawing Society (so-called 'Children's Royal Academy').

Cartoons and caricatures for student newspapers at Uni were fun as were artworks associated with the theatre and student reviews. I took every opportunity to study at local schools of art from the Art Department at Luton Tech in Bedfordshire to the Tasmanian Art School and the Canberra-based ANU School of Art.

Here is a random selection of artworks that remain in my possession either as originals or as photo images. I must admit that most look better on the small screen than they would on a gallery wall!

> Download PDF file: Sprad Artworks.pdf
   (A4, 6 pages - 2.1 mb)

Walter E. Spradbery was an artist and pacifist. Refusing to take up arms in the First World War, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and became a paramedic and stretcher bearer on the Somme battlefield. Here he earned many citations for bravery including the awarding of a Distinguished Conduct Medal. On the day the Armistice was signed, he wrote from the trenches to his Mother:

"Hostilities ceased on all fronts at 11am today. Oh happy mothers, happy sweethearts, happy wives, whose loved ones will come safely back... and those lone souls who have lost their very own; today is too unkind to them - how can they face our joy? 'Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men' - an unseen choir sings it in our breasts - prompting men to evolve a better world more worthy of our ideals and aspirations. Let us begin."

He went on to produce a significant body of work, much of it for London Transport with his famous posters. Married to opera singer, Dorothy d'Orsay, they lived an idyllic existence at their home, 'The Wilderness' in Epping Forest. I had the pleasure of meeting Walter at 'The Wilderness' when I was a young student in the late 1950s.

The biography of his life and times has recently been compiled and published by his son, John Spradbery.

> Click here to DOWNLOAD PDF file: Walter E. Spradbery.pdf
   (A4, 2 pages - 612 k) includes Order Form

"Disaster Fly" (1976) Made by Film Australia for Australian Department of Health. Director, David Barrow.
Time: 19 mins - YouTube - Part 1 (9 mins): Watch Video - Disaster Fly (Part 1)
Part 2 (9 mins): Watch Video - Disaster Fly (Part 2)

"ABC TV Landline" (1991) Closure of the Screw-worm Facility in PNG. Interviewer: Kerry Lonergan -
Time: 7 mins - YouTube: Watch Video - ABC TV Landline

"Screw-worm Fly" (1992) Produced by CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory for the Exotic Animal Disease Preparedness Consultative Council (EXANDIS). Winner of San Francisco Golden Apple award: best short scientific documentary film 1993. Time: 12 mins - YouTube: Watch Video - Screw-worm Fly

"Winged Invader - European wasp" (1994) '60 Minutes' Channel 9. Producer: John Penlington. Interviewer: Tracey Currow. Time: 12 mins - YouTube: Watch Video - Winged Invader - European Wasp


> SWF: AustVetPlan Disease Strategy - see: SWF-Austvetplan Disease.pdf

> SWF: Nuclear Spectrum - see: Irradiation - SWF-Nuclear.pdf

> SWF: Animal Health - go to: Animal Health - Screw worm fly

> SWF: Animal Health (Freedom Assurance Program) - see: SWF-Brochure.pdf

> SWF: Preparedness Strategy - go to: SWF Preparedness Strategy

> SWF: Quarantine - go to: Quarantine - Screw worm fly

> SWF: Diagnostic Manual - go to: Screw worm fly Posters or see: SWF-Diagnostics Manual.pdf

> SWF: IAEA - http://www-naweb.iaea.org/nafa/ipc/screwworm-flies.html or SWF-Poster x2.pdf

> ACT Beekeepers - go to: Beekeepers/European Wasp

> Territory and Municipal Services (Pests & Weeds) - go to: ACT Govt-European Wasps

> CSIRO Entomology / Ecosystem Sciences - go to: CSIRO

> Invasive species compendium (A4, 21 pages - 2.3 mb) - see: Vespula germanica.pdf

wasp buster wasp buster

We live in a dynamic world - anything might happen and often does. This page gives me the opportunity to add late news, the latest happenings in my world and beyond.

It could be entomological, mechanical, aquatic or environmental.

As my European wasp research continues to explore the queen's sterilizing pheromone, perhaps this will become the hot news... wish me luck and the energy to continue the quest for its chemical identity. In the meantime I shall be busy preparing my impromptu remarks following the announcement!

Whether your visit to this site is for the first time, or you are a regular viewer, please click on... Late News.pdf