One of David Holmes' lasting memories of his time in New Guinea during the Second World War was of the magnificent butterfly fauna. When he returned to Australia, he took up butterfly and moth collecting, which soon became his passion. David and his wife, Joyce, ran a fruit orchard at Red Hill, south of Melbourne, for more than 40 years. Each year they would take their children on trips to various parts of Australia to collect butterflies. David also swapped, traded and purchased overseas specimens from dealers and other avid collectors. His is the most extensive private butterfly collection in Australia; as an indication of its scope, it contains specimens of every swallowtail butterfly species in North America. Holmes donated his butterfly and moth collection to the museum.

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