The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]
Professor Algernon Phillips Withiel Thomas
Professor Algernon Phillips Withiel Thomas, M.A., F.L.S., F.G.S. Professor of Biology and Geology, Auckland University College, was born in June, 1837, at Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, was educated at Manchester School and afterwards at Balliol College (Oxon). He gained second class honours in mathematical Moderations and first class honours in natural science, as well as the Burdett-Coutts Geological Scholarship of the university. The professor was appointed demonstrator in biology at the university of Oxford and whilst there, was engaged in an important scientific research into the natural history of the liver fluke of sheep for the Royal Agricultural Society of England. In November 1882 he was appointed on the recommendation of Professor Huxley and Sir Archibald Geikie, as the first occupant of the chair of Natural Science (biology and geology) in the Auckland University College, and arrived in the Colony on the 1st of May, 1883. Professor Thomas is known as an able and popular science lecturer and also as a lecturer on agricultural science to the farming community of the Auckland provincial district. He was engaged by the New Zealand Government to report on the eruption of Tarawera in 1886 and to make a scientific Investigation in connection with the intercolonial Royal Commission on the rabbit pest. He is the author of numerous papers on zoological and geological subjects.