curated arrangement of butterflies in a range of sizes and colours

The Butterfly Man of Kuranda: The Dodd Collection

This exhibition has closed

Recommended for all ages

Queensland Museum, Level 2 Theatrette




This exhibition has closed

Nganydji Djabuganydji bama: bagarra-malim Ngunbanydja, we are the Djabugay nation the speaking people from the rainforest in Kuranda.

Queensland Museum acknowledges the Djabugay nation – Bulwanydji, Yirrganydji, Nyagalindji, Gulunydji, Djabuganydji ­– who have called the ancient forests of Kuranda home for over 10,000 years.

In a truly exceptional event, Queensland Museum unveils one of the rarest treasures from our collection.

Prepare to be captivated as The Butterfly Man of Kuranda: The Dodd Collection spreads its wings at Queensland Museum South Bank. This is a rare opportunity to witness an extraordinarily biodiverse display of insects.

Immerse yourself in the grandeur of The Butterfly Man of Kuranda: The Dodd Collection, an exhibition that proudly showcases the esteemed F.P. and A.P. Dodd Collection of Tropical Insects from Australia and New Guinea, part of the Queensland Museum’s State Collection.

Over the course of three rotations displaying 27 meticulously arranged showcases, dating from the early 1900s to the 1960s, visitors will discover a world brimming with these mesmerising creatures.

The exhibition features nine display cases at a time, alternating in intervals. Rotation two: The Ghosts of Kuranda is on display now. This rotational approach ensures the long-term preservation of one of the state’s premier collections under carefully controlled environmental conditions, ensuring safeguarding for future generations.

Each display captures the essence and allure of these rare specimens, reigniting a deep appreciation for the art and science of collecting.


For accessibility assistance for this exhibition, please visit our accessibility page or contact the museum on (07) 3153 3000.

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Rotation one: Jewelled Grandeur

28 July 2023 – 22 October 2023

In 1884 Frederick Parkhurst Dodd was a 23-year-old bank clerk who, after being unwillingly transferred from Victoria to Townsville in remote, tropical Queensland, took up butterfly collecting, and soon became so engrossed in natural history that he left the bank in 1895, determined to make an independent living from insects. The first suite of cases from the Dodd Collection on display includes the 'Grand Parade', featuring beautiful metallic Christmas beetles, flower chafers and stag beetles artfully arranged in mesmerising concentric circles.

Rotation two: The Ghosts of Kuranda

23 October 2023 – 28 January 2024

After a violent cyclone devastated his house in Townsville. Dodd and his growing family moved to Kuranda in the heart of the rich and unexplored rainforests of the Cairns region. As Kuranda became a popular tourist destination, Dodd developed a show collection of spectacular insects in his home. These striking display cases allowed him to share the beauty of rainforest insects with the general public. The second rotation of the Dodd Collection includes a showcase of nocturnal moths in beautiful muted, pastel shades, including the rare ghost moths of the genus Aenetus. 

Rotation three: A Brilliant Family

29 January 2024 – 14 April 2024

All six children of F.P. Dodd were steeped in insect lore from an early age and played a vital role in the family’s insect enterprises. Displaying the collection became a tradition among the Dodd family. Dodd's son, Alan, had a brilliant career as a professional entomologist. He made three visits to New Guinea to pursue moths and butterflies, arranging them into striking showcases to complement his father's older cases and form an important part of the Dodd collection. This final showing of the Dodd collection includes some of Alan Dodd's cases of striking New Guinea jezebel butterflies and blue birdwing butterflies from the Solomon Islands.

Don't miss the chance to see The Butterfly Man of Kuranda: The Dodd Collection, unfurling its wings for a limited showing at Queensland Museum until 14 April 2024.

Virtual tour

Explore rotation two of The Butterfly Man of Kuranda: The Dodd Collection from anywhere in the world with our virtual tour. Navigate around the exhibition to view the featured showcases. For a virtual tour of rotation one, visit our online exhibition page.

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School and Group visitors

Register your interest for visiting as a school or children's group by submitting our online form or phoning 3153 4401.

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