Neville Coleman OAM (1938 - 4 May 2012) was an Australian naturalist, underwater nature photographer, writer, publisher and educator.

Coleman started scuba diving in 1963, exploring Sydney Harbour. Later he joined a scientific study group and, in 1969, commenced a project aiming to document the entire marine life of Australia, using underwater photography.

His first book, Australian marine fishes in colour, was published in 1974 and he subsequently authored more than 50 books. His books included various texts for scuba divers, shell collectors, amateur naturalists and children, and typically took the forms of field guides, encyclopedias and dive guides. Departures included a collaboration with a poet and CD-ROM companions to printed publications, which included video clips of marine species. His photographs often appeared in publications by other authors on marine subjects.

In 2007 Coleman was inducted to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and, in 2011, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for "service to conservation and the environment through the photographic documentation of Australian marine species".[1][2] Coleman died of natural causes at 4:55 am on 4 May 2012, in his sleep.[2]

Taxon named in his honor

Coleman discovered many marine creatures new to science. Several species of fish, nudibranchs and other invertebrates have been named after him, including:


Neville Coleman Memorial Dives are held annually,[4] with special events including a sea slug photo competition and public art exhibition held in South Australia.


Selected works
Title Co-author Year Publisher Location ISBN Reference
Australian marine fishes in colour 1974 Reed Sydney ISBN 0589071416
Shell collecting in Australia 1976 Reed Sydney ISBN 0589071955 [5]
A field guide to Australian marine life 1977 Rigby Adelaide ISBN 0727005200 [6]
A look at the wildlife of the Great Barrier Reef 1978 Bay Books Rushcutters Bay, NSW ISBN 085835201X [7]
Scuba divers introduction to marine biology 1978 Australasian Marine Photographic Index [8]
The Australian beachcomber 1979 Collins ISBN 0002164248
Australian sea fishes south of 30s 1980 Doubleday Sydney ISBN 0868240184
Australian sea fishes north of 30 S 1981 Doubleday Sydney ISBN 0868240338
Fishes of Victoria 1981 Doubleday Sydney ISBN 0868240397
The young observer's book of Australian seashells 1982 Methuen Australia Sydney ISBN 0454002998 [9]
Harmful fishes of Australia 1982 Doubleday Sydney ISBN 0868240400
Nudibranchs of Australasia Richard C. Willan 1984 Australasian Marine Photographic Index NSW ISBN 094937301X [10]
Poetry in pictures: The Great Barrier Reef Mark O'Connor 1985 Hale & Iremonger Sydney ISBN 0868062073 [11]
The underwater Australia dive guide 1987 Nelson Melbourne ISBN 0170069192 [12]
Australia's Great Barrier Reef 1990 Child & Associates NSW ISBN 086777343X, 0867773677 [13]
Encyclopedia of marine animals 1991 Blandford London ISBN 0713722894
Australia's sharks & rays 1992 Weldon Publishing Sydney ISBN 1863022627
Discover underwater Australia 1994 National Book Distributors and Publishers NSW ISBN 1864360070 [14]
Sea stars of Australasia and their relatives 1994 Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Springwood, Queensland ISBN 0947325212 [15]
The dive sites of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Comprehensive coverage of diving and snorkelling 1996 New Holland (Publishers) Ltd. London, Cape Town, Sydney, Singapore
Marine life of the Maldives 2000 Atoll Apollo Bay, Victoria ISBN 1876410361
Underwater naturalist 2004 Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Springwood, Queensland ISBN 0947325298 [16]
Fiji Islands: wildlife guide 2005 Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Springwood, Queensland ISBN 9780947325466
Nudibranchs encyclopedia 2008 Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Springwood, Queensland ISBN 9780947325411
Nudibranchs encyclopedia - 2nd edition 2015 and Masalai Press Australia, USA


  1. ^ "Coleman, Neville Albert". Awards and Culture Branch Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, The Australian Government. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Neville Coleman OAM Peacefully Passes Away -Underwater Photography Loses A Legend". 4 May 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  3. ^ Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara (22 September 2018). "Order Uranoscopiformes: Pinguipedidae, Cheimarrichthyidae, Ammodytidae and Uranoscopidae". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  4. ^ Baker, Janine. "The Neville Coleman Memorial Nudibranch Dive. Summary of Results from Community Dive Events in South Australia in 2015 and 2016". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Coleman, Neville (1976). Shell collecting in Australia. Terry Hills, N.S.W. : Reed. ISBN 978-0-589-07195-0.
  6. ^ Coleman, Neville; Programs, United States Office of Pesticide (1977). A field guide to Australian marine life. Adelaide : Rigby. ISBN 978-0-7270-0520-5.
  7. ^ Coleman, Neville (1978). A look at wildlife of the Great Barrier Reef. Rushcutters Bay, N.S.W. : Bay Books. ISBN 978-0-85835-201-8.
  8. ^ Coleman, Neville (1978). Scuba divers introduction to marine biology. [Caringbah, N.S.W. : Australasian Marine Photographic Index.
  9. ^ Coleman, Neville; Coleman, Neville (1982). The young observer's book of Australian seashells. Sydney : Methuen Australia. ISBN 978-0-454-00299-7.
  10. ^ Willan, R. C.; Coleman, Neville; Index, Australian Marine Photographic (1984). Nudibranchs of Australasia. Caringbah, N.S.W. : N. Coleman. ISBN 978-0-949373-00-7.
  11. ^ O'Connor, Mark; Coleman, photographer.), Neville (1985). Poetry in pictures : the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney : Hale & Iremonger. ISBN 978-0-86806-207-5.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Coleman, Neville (1987). The underwater Australia dive guide. Melbourne : Nelson. ISBN 978-0-17-006919-9.
  13. ^ Coleman, Neville (1990). Australia's Great Barrier Reef (1st ed.). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W. : Child & Associates. ISBN 978-0-86777-367-5.
  14. ^ Coleman, Neville (1994). Discover underwater Australia (1st ed.). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W. : National Book Distributors and Publishers. ISBN 978-1-86436-007-3.
  15. ^ Coleman, Neville; Coleman, Neville (1994). Sea stars of Australasia & their relatives. Springwood, Qld. : Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic. ISBN 978-0-947325-21-3.
  16. ^ Coleman, Neville (2004). Underwater naturalist (New ed.). Springwood, Qld. : Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd. ISBN 978-0-947325-29-9.