natural history artist, collector and curator, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 22 October 1815, son of William Wall. According to his son, Wall studied anatomy under Professor Robert Harrison at Trinity College, Dublin, before coming to Sydney in 1840 with his brother Thomas where both worked as naturalists at the Australian Museum. W.S. Wall succeeded W.B. Clarke as curator in 1845 and continued in this position throughout the 1850s. His numerous curatorial duties included preparing and mounting the skeleton of a whale, a most popular attraction when exhibited outside the museum in 1849 50.
Wall lent a watercolour view by G.F. Angas to the 1854 Australian Museum Exhibition. It depicted Thomas’s grave, his brother having died on the 1848 expedition to Cape York under Edmund Kennedy . With it Wall exhibited the two lithographs after his sketches of whale skeletons as reproduced in his History and Description of a New Sperm Whale (Sydney 1851), 'printed, illustrated and bound in the colony’. He was awarded a bronze medal for his book and a silver medal for 'services’ by the commissioners to the following Paris Exhibition, where his book was again displayed. The Mitchell Library’s copy is from the library of George Bennett , the museum’s first curator, who had it rebound and retitled Macleay’s Sperm Whale , gluing to the front end-paper a lengthy review from the Sydney Morning Herald (26 April 1851) which hinted that the text was not Wall’s unaided work.
Whatever his inadequacies as a scientist Wall certainly contributed natural history drawings on a regular basis to the first series of the Illustrated Sydney News , his illustrations of harp and Australian seals, a duck and an Australian bustard appearing on 22 July, 29 July and 5 August 1854 respectively. Labelling natural history 'the most popular and attractive, perhaps, of the sciences’, the paper stated that Wall’s 'Ichthyological drawings continue to add new matter to physical knowledge’. Bennett also contributed to this series of 'Australian Natural History’ notes, and Frederick Garling to the drawings.
At the end of 1858 Wall was forced to retire. He moved to Rockhampton, Queensland, where he collected insects for the Australian Museum, for William Sharp Macleay in Sydney and for European museums. He was nominated a corresponding member of the Imperial and Royal Geographical Society of Austria in 1860 'in acknowledgement of his valuable contributions to the Mineralogical Museum at Vienna’. He was back at Sydney, living in Bridge Street, by 1867 but later devoted himself to local affairs at Randwick, the suburb where his son George (born c.1843) was later mayor. Wall died at Randwick on 5 October 1876.