Wards of london
Companion to Audobon in his travels throughout much of America and collecting material for his works on the Birds of America was an Englishman by the name of Henry Ward. Henry Ward came from a family of taxidermists His father Herbert had begun their family business of taxidermy in London in the early 1800's. Together with his wife Catherine, the Wards bred and stuffed birds for wealthy gentleman collectors. Herbert and Catherine had three children, two sons named Henry and Frederick and one daughter by the name of Jane.
It seemed that natural history and taxidermy ran in the veins of the Ward family. Both Henry and Frederick Ward were at various times of their early careers employed by naturalists of the likes of John Gould, William Swainson and John James Audobon to collect and skin birds for them. Not to be outshone by her brothers, Jane Ward followed the family trade and also became a taxidermist.
In 1839, she married Charles Tost, a Prussian cabinetmaker and bird stuffer. Together with 6 children, the family immigrated in 1856 to the British colony of New Holland and settled in Hobart, Tasmania where Jane received employment within the Hobart museum. Jane Tost was probably the first woman employed in a museum within Australia and one of only a handful anywhere in the world to be employed within a recognised male dominated field. Later, she was to move to Sydney on the mainland, where she took on a position as a taxidermist within the Australia Museum in 1864. In so doing, was granted equal wages to the male Taxidermists working within the Australia Museum. Equal pay was unheard of amongst the women and men of that era, but such a level of re-numeration speaks highly of her abilities as a Taxidermist.
Her husband Charles, also worked at the museum as a cabinet maker and taxidermist but following a dispute between himself and the curator of the Australia Museum, Gerard Krefft, she left the museum in 1869. A family disaster in 1872 saw Jane and her daughter Ada Rohu form a family craft and taxidermy business in 1878, the two women opening a premises of trade at number 60 William St, Sydney.
By 1857, Henry Ward, the nephew of Jane Tost had begun his own taxidermy business back home in London. Henry fathered two sons, Edwin and Rowland and like the generation before them, these two Wards also took to the business of natural history and taxidermy.
Edwin Ward went on to enjoying the patronage of the Royal Family from 1872, as taxidermist to the Royals, whilst his brother Rowland founded the largest and most influential taxidermy firm of the nineteenth century, Wards of London.