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New South Wales


A permanent European settlement was established in New Holland with the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in January 1788. The military and convict origins of the new colony were steadily transformed until, by 1821, it had become a thriving commercial centre. From a population of about 20,000 in 1830 the lure of gold had inflated the population to about 100,000 by the 1880s. After Sydney, Newcastle was founded in 1804 and Bathurst became the first major township on the inland side of the Blue Mountains.


Sydney Cove – View North – 1794
Oil painting by Thomas Watling (1762-?1814) who worked with Surgeon General John White
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons – HappyWaldo – Accessed 13 July 2018

Second Fleet gardeners

Considering the initial enthusiasm for the New Holland flora it is surprising that the First Fleet had no officially appointed naturalists, botanists or gardeners. Banks had, in 1789, sent out the Kew trained gardeners George Austin and James Smith as seed collectors with the Second Fleet, on the transport ship HMS Guardian with about 300 people aboard and a cargo of agricultural seeds, plants, farm machinery and livestock. The cargo, along with most of the crew, were tragically lost when the ship, while collecting ice to supplement the freshwater supply (depleted by the plants and animals on board) was struck by an iceberg in the Southern Ocean off southern Africa. The ship limped back to the Cape where it was beached, then wrecked in a hurricane with few survivors. It seems that the two gardeners, against Banks’s expressed wishes, had entered into commercial agreements with London nurseries.[1]

German interest and influence

A strong German influence and interest in New Holland began with the first wave of settlers and visitors settlers. Early ‘first generation’ Germans included Hügel, Preiss, Leisner, Endlicher, Leichhardt, Hans Behr, Lehmann and to this list can be added the slightly later arrival of people like Schomburgh and Mueller. In Germany the Habsburgs ruled the Holy Roman empire with Vienna an artistic and intellectual centre that shared the excitement of the discoveries on the voyages of exploration. This resulted in visits to Western Australia in 1833 and 1834 by the wealthy Austrian naturalist and horticulturist Karl von Hügel who was after seed for his outstanding gardens with the fashionable New Holland plants which he grew in his garden at Hietzing just outside Vienna. He made valuable contacts, later being well entertained in Van Diemen’s Land and Port Jackson, (check this)returning to Europe in 1837.[2] Some 350 new species were described from his specimens, largely by George Bentham at Kew and the eminent German taxonomist Stephan Endlicher. His astute observations of the horticulture and society in the new colony appeared in English translation in 1994 as his New Holland Journal (1833-4).[3] Hans Behr collected in South Australia from 1844-5 and again in 1848-9, corresponding with Mueller. His specimens were mostly described in an 1847 publication by his friend Diederich von Schlechtendal,[4] Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanical Gardens at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg and editor of the botanical journal Linnaea. He lived for a while with the Aboriginals (Olde etc.)

[? Ludwig Leichhardt]Though renowned for his exploration rather than his botany nevertheless had a significant botanical impact. He had arrived in Australia in 1842 and had lectured in botany, had also proposed a herbarium for Sydney.[5] Nevertheless his 5000 km expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington in 1844-5 remains one of the most outstanding explorations ever, followed by his tragic loss without trace on an attempted east-west crossing in 1848.

Settlement and early exploration

On his return to England Banks became de facto Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, under his management the gardens becoming the hub of the British Empire and its commercial and scientific activities, no doubt in part as rivalry to the revolutionary France. Banks influenced the selection of New South Wales as a penal colony and “neo-Europe” and its suitability for the growth of fruit and vegetables. Hence the first fruit crops of the First Fleet planted on the Government Farm at Farm Cove which later became the ?(Royal) Botanic Gardens Sydney in 1816. Following Banks’s gardener-botanists on the voyages of scientific discovery were his resident plant hunters David Burton ( ), George Caley, Alan Cunningham and George Suttor. All were to leave their mark on the new colony. Like their predecessors they were prepared to forego the danger and hardship for excitement and possible fame, often taking on the role of explorers as explorers themselves took on the role as collectors of natural history curios.


David Burton 1791-1792
George Caley 1800-1810
George Suttor 1800-1810 (1812->)
Allan Cunningham 1816

Resident botanists

John White & Dennis Considen

John White, who had served in the West Indies and India, was Surgeon-General to the First Fleet and the settlement of Port Jackson, and was probably the first resident naturalist, investigating the medical properties of plants, sending a quart of Eucalyptus oil to London and preparing a journal, published as a Journal of a voyage to new [sic] South Wales (1790) which was decorated with copper-plate engravings of plants, animals and birds: it included botanical notes by the botanist who worked on his returned specimens, James Smith, and it included commissioned illustrations by a botanical assistant.[6][7] The journal was translated into German in 1791 by Johann Forster, botanist on Cook’s second voyage, and it was later translated into Swedish (1793) and French (1795, 1798). In 1792 White was assigned a convict artist, Thomas Watling, who illustrated some of the colony’s bird and animal life that White was recording. White was ranked fifth in the new colony, drawing a salary of £182.10.00 p.a. He had helped set up the first hospital and for his labours was given, in 1793, two land grants, one of 100 acres and the other 30 acres. Dennis Considen was assistant-surgeon to White and he too collected botanical and other natural history specimens for Banks, pioneering the pharmaceutical use of eucalyptus oil and medicinal uses of native plants.[8] He returned to Britain in 1793 due to poor health and was soon followed in 1794 by the disillusioned White. Back in England White he was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1796:[9] he is commemorated in the name White Bay – ‘White Bay and Glebe Island’ now being a principal berthing area in Sydney’s busy docks used to receive, store and distribute dry bulk goods.

David Burton

Food yield from Farm Cove was poor, the new colony quickly running low on supplies, a situation exacerbated by the arrival of the Second Fleet in June 1790. Much needed cereals, vegetables and fruit were sent out with the Third Fleet in March 1791. On one of the storeships, HMS Gorgon, was Banks’s personal collector David Burton[10] arriving at the desperate and starving colony in September 1791. Burton was related by marriage to London nurseryman James Lee:[11] his formal duties were botanical collector, gardener, naturalist and Superintendent of Convicts. By December of 1791 he had accumulated 60 tubs of plants which were packed on the returning HMS Gorgon bound for Banks at Kew (who had paid him a retainer of £20 p.a.).[12] Arriving back in England in 1792, the plants were up and growing in the same year. He had also collected large amounts of seed and specimens that was returned on later ships, the nursery of Lee and Kennedy being among his beneficiaries. Burton’s time in the new colony was brief – only 6-7 months – as he died in April 1792 of complications resulting from an accidental gunshot wound to his arm while on a duck-hunting trip.[13]

George Caley

Burton was eventually replaced by George Caley, [14] another Banks appointment, who arrived in Sydney aboard HMS Speedy in 1800 (together with the new Governor King). Caley was a Yorkshire stable-lad with a passion for botany. He had joined the Manchester School of Botanists and written to Banks requesting work as a botanical collector. After working as a gardener’s labourer in various gardens, including the Chelsea Physic Garden under the famous Curtis, and also at Kew, he seized the opportunity for a free passage to New South Wales. Here he was installed with government rations, a cottage at Parramatta next to Government House, and a salary paid by Banks. In a letter to Banks King had declared the intention to develop a Botanic garden near the cottage where Caley managed a temporary storage area for plants entering and leaving the colony.[15]

In May 1802 Caley joined Robert Brown collecting at proven localities around Port Jackson but an offer by Brown to join in the Investigator’s continental circumnavigation was declined. Shortly after arrival Caley accompanied James Grant and Francis Barrallier aboard the Lady Nelson on an expedition to Bass Strait, including Westernport, and in 1804 he managed to treck further than any other European into the Blue Mountains, naming Mount Banks after his patron.[16] He also impressed botansists with his observations on eucalypts, especially the hybridization of ironbarks.[17] Caley remained in Australia from 1800 to 1810, during which time he visited Norfolk Island and Hobart in 1805 and ?later also visited Jervis Bay and the Hunter River District. Banks was supplied with a steady flow of natural history collections, herbarium specimens and seed while also being informed of any developments in the colony, in 1808 Banks offering him an annuity of £50 a year, which released him from any duties he did not wish to perform. Caley’s plant specimens were later used by Brown in the description of the Australian flora. To the annoyance of King some of the seed he collected was sent to the Colville nursery in London rather than to Banks.[18] (To James Dickson a Covent Garden nurseryman)

Caley returned to England in 1810 but, restless, in 1816 he was appointed superintendent of the St Vincent Botanic Garden in the West Indies.


The homesick Caley returned to England in 1810 but he was accompanied by an Aboriginal companion Moowattin. Caley had incurred the displeasure of the settlers because he took every opportunity to associate with the Aboriginals, learning their language, especially the plant names, and observing their bush skills. He had expressed the wish to gain the assistance of one of the tree-climbing Aboriginals of the woods who could quickly retrieve flowers and fruits high up in the tree canopies, especially those of the eucalypts. Unlike the coastal Aboriginals who had no climbing skills and treated the wood people with disdain, this people spoke a different language and even had a different physical stature.

Moowattin was a young Aboriginal who had been adopted by the family of Richard Partridge (‘Rice’) the colony’s hangman. Dan, as Caley called the young teenager Moowattin, had moved into Caley’s cottage to become his assistant and helping as an interpreter in his dealings with the Aboriginals. Caley had total trust in the boy and had taken him to Norfolk Island in 1805. Arriving with Caley in London Moowattin remained for a year apparently enjoying the theatre, smoking his pipe and frequenting the coffee-houses – although he had once declared that the impressive houses and shops of London were ‘not equal to the woods’ of his home country.[19] After the unfortunate experiences of previous displaced natives – Tahitian Omai brought to England by Cook, and Sydney Aboriginal Bennelong by Phillip – Banks was keen that Moowattin, who had now followed Bennelong’s path into alcoholism, should be returned to his homeland as soon as possible[20] and in 1811 he sailed for Australia arriving in 1812 along with Caley’s replacement George Suttor and a cargo of date palms, olives and other plants.

Back in Sydney Moowattin lasted for two weeks working on Suttor’s farm before returning to his own people. When later spotted naked in the Parramatta woods and questioned why he had discarded his British clothes he had stated ‘me like the bush best’. In 1816 he was accused of the rape of a convict’s daughter and hanged at the age of about 25, the first Aboriginal to be legally executed in Australia.[21]

Though Caley’s enthusiasm was unquestioned his manner caused almost universal irritation, Robert Brown damning him with faint praise[22] and Governor King’s correspondence to Banks expressing exasperation. Banks empathised by describing Caley as “impetuous and quick-tempered” also that “had he been a Gentleman he would have been shot long ago in a duel”.[23]

Caley was appointed curator of the botanic gardens at St Vincent in the West Indies in 1816.[24] In spite of his manner he was reliable and thorough but he did not publish any of his work. With no children and his wife dying before him it is perhaps not surprising that his will bequeathed an annuity to his New Holland pet cockatoo.[25] Caley is commemorated in several species names including Grevillea caleyi, Banksia caleyi, Eucalyptus caleyi and the orchid genus Caleana: Mount Caley and Caleys Range in New South Wales were named for him by his successor Alan Cunningham.

George Suttor

George Suttor was the son of a Scottish botanist and gardener who had trained with James Lee the London nurseryman who was probably the most prominent promoter of Australian plants. Suttor was keen to make a life in Sydney and through various connections managed to assist Banks, who hade designated him an honorary Botanical Collector, in the assembly and care at Kew of a dispatchment of grape vines, apple, pear, and hop bushes as a replacement for those lost in the Guardian. He had at the same time befriended George Caley. Arriving in Sydney in 1800 he set up the nursery Chelsea Farm at Baulkham Hills where he raised lemons from seed and grew three orange trees donated by Colonel William Paterson. In 1804 he became the first in New Holland to propagate and advertise fruit trees for sale and by 1807 supplying oranges to market.[26] Returning to England in 1810 he was a witness in a case agains Colonel Johnston, a rebel leader during Governor Bligh’s governorship. On his return business was difficult and he fell on hard times eventually getting a successful land grant at Brucedale near Bathurst and returning to Baulkham Hills to rejuvenate his orangery and living in Elizabeth Street where Allan Cunningham was a lodger. From 1829 to 1844 the Suttor family lived in England during which time he published, in 1843, The Culture of the Grape-Vine, and the Orange, in Australia and New Zealand and was also elected a member of the Linnean Society.[27] His descendants still lived on the property at Brucedale in 2012.

[At the same time as Caley, from 1794-1810, Colonel William Paterson collected in NSW and Governor Tasmania.][check who this is] . On Oxley survey of Swan River making collections, he also accompanied Cunningham to the Moreton Bay penal settlement in 1828 to plan the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and make collections. [check who this is]

Charles Fraser

Charles Fraser, a Scottish botanist and gardener with connections to the botanic gardens of Edinburgh and Glasgow, arrived in Sydney in 1816 as a foot soldier. Macquarie made him Colonial Botanist as distinct from Allan Cunningham’s position of King’s Botanist and he accompanied the John Oxley survey of the Lachlan, Macquarie and Hastings rivers from 1817–1819. He had also taken charge of the ‘exotics’ in the Government Gardens in 1818 with an official appointment in 1821 as inaugural Superintendent, over the next 10 years converting it from the Governor’s kitchen garden to the highly respected Sydney Botanic Gardens.[28]

Sydney Botanic Gardens was founded on the site of Farm Cove in 1816 and Charles Fraser became the first Colonial Botanist and Superintendent, holding the position until his death in 1831. [check AGH 8(3):14-16 & 9(4):13-14. OCAG article too]

John Bidwill & Charles Moore

John Bidwill[29] was an adventurous horticulturist and plant explorer. He travelled from Exeter in England to Canada for two years when only 17, then sailed for Sydney when 23, no sooner arriving than setting off immediately for New Zealand on the first of four expeditions shortly after arriving in Australia in 1839. His plant collections on these trips were sent to John Lindley and an account of his first visit to New Zealand was published in London in 1841 as Rambles in New Zealand. He was soon friendly with influential horticulturist of the colony and 1840 returned to England taking both living and dried Australian and New Zealand plants. He had met Joseph Hooker in Sydney and Governor King provided him with an introduction to Sir William Hooker, the new Director at Kew in London who introduced him to the eminent plant breeder William Herbert. Bidwill spent 1845-6 in Tahiti but was persuaded by Macarthur to return to Sydney for an appointment as the first Director and Government Botanist in 1847 replacing the mediocre management that followed Fraser’s death. Meanwhile the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London, on Lindley’s advice, had chosen Charles Moore. Bidwill had to leave but was made Commissioner of Lands at Wide Bay on a salary well above that of Moore. In 1851 he became lost in the bush for eight days while marking out a road to Moreton Bay. Found by Aboriginals he never recovered and died in 1853 at the youg age of 38 to be buried in one of the two magnificent gardens he had created at Maryborough in Queensland. Over his short life he collected widely, publishing a full account of the Bunya Pine, Araucaria bidwillii, which now bears his name. He sent living plants and seeds to various English gardens and his herbarium to Kew. His horticultural expertise was harnessed in advising, amongst others, William Macarthur and he is noted for introducing plant breeding to Australia.[30] Bidwill died when he was only 38 and was followed by Charles Moore whose appointment had been encouraged by John Lindley in London. Moore held the position from 1848 to 1896 during which the basic plan of the garden was established along with a small herbarium in the 1850s.

Allan & Richard Cunningham

Allan Cunningham[31] like many other early Australian gardener-botanists, was the son of a Scottish gardener: he rejected a career in law preferring work like that of his father, joining Kew gardens where he developed contacts and experience by working with his brother Richard as clerk to Kew curator William Aiton who was preparing the publication of a new edition of Hortus Kewensis, an inventory of Kew’s plant holdings. More practical experience was gained when in 1814 he was sent for two years plant collecting with another Kew gardener, James Bowie, in the jungles of Brazil under the patronage of Joseph Banks. On their return Banks sent Bowie to Africa and Cunningham to Port Jackson, to collect seeds, bulbs, live plants and herbarium specimens for the enhancement of collections at Kew, replacing Caley (collector from 1800-1808) as resident collector.

Cunningham arrived in NSW in 1816 several years after the Blue Mountain range had been crossed for the first time by Europeans and, with the grand title of ‘King’s Botanist’, explored extensively in both coastal and inland New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land, taking a keen interest in Aboriginal culture and accompanied by Aboriginal guides and, while exploring the Illawarra region, convict assistants. On arrival he joined John Oxley’s expedition (Apr-Sept. 1817) to explore the Lachlan and Macquarie rivers beyond the Blue Mountains one of the team being the soldier Charles Fraser, titled ‘Colonial Botanist’, who later became the first Superintendent of the Sydney Botanic Gardens. There does not seem to have been any rivalry between the similarly titled men, one working for the King’s garden at Kew, the other for the Governor’s garden in Sydney.[32] About 450 species were collected, many new to science. A second Oxley expedition to the interior set out in 1818 tracing the Macquarie, one of the many finds being what local Aboriginals called the bangle, now the Bangalow Palm, Areca cunninghamiana named in his honour.

Between 1817 and 1822 Allan served on four coastal surveys with Lt Philip Parker King, son of the former Governor of NSW. The first (Dec. 1817-Jul. 1818) was in HMS Mermaid mostly surveying those parts of the tropical coasts of northern and north-west Australia that had been missed by Flinders, Baudin and others but also including visits to King George Sound and Timor. The second was to explore Macquarie and Davey harbours on Van Diemen’s Land, leaving on Christmas day 1818. All in all he joined King in circumnavigating the continent three times, taking collections on the way. He called in and collected at many other sites including, on the fourth Mauritius where he managed to exchange many specimens for local plants, this time in the Bathurst.

It was also Cunningham who is believed to have made the first significant botanical collections from the Kimberley region.[33] On the first trip he landed and collected at King George Sound (21 Dec. 1817, 300 specimens among which was the unusual genus Kingia named for Captain King by Brown), then a second short trip to Van Diemens Land in December, then a third expedition to the north-west in 1819 (400 specimens). Between 1820 and 1821 they The final expedition in 1822 lasted about a year during which he became ill.

From 1822-1829 he spent most of his time in NSW exploring widely to the west of the Blue Mountains, Illawarra, Hunter Valley and in 1823 discovered Pandora’s Pass through the Liverpool Range to the Liverpool Plains beyond. In 1824, with Oxley, he went to Moreton Bay to assess its suitability for a convict settlement and here he noted the potential commercial value of the macadamia.[34] A number of short trips followed, including one to New Zealand in 1826 and then Norfolk island in 1830. Cunningham’s most important journey was in 1827 when he discovered the Darling Downs as an area perfect for pastoralism, and (now named) Cunningham’s Gap. He later explored the upper reaches of the Brisbane River Valley.

Back in England in 1831 he was in poor physical shape, working on his specimens at Kew for five years, although it was largely Brown who in 1830 described the plants Cunningham had collected. In 1832, following the death of Charles Fraser, he had been offered the job of Colonial Botanist in NSW but successfully, and with encouragement from high places, managed to get his brother Richard the position. Richard had set about converting the vegetable garden into a botanic garden but was tragically killed in 1835 by Aborigines while plant collecting on Mitchell’s second expedition to the interior. Reluctantly Allan agreed to fill the vacant position but after a few months he resigned as the job had become bureaucratically hidebound. Supervision of convict labourers growing fruit and vegetables was too restrictive and the urge for exploration too strong.[35] Setting out again for New Zealand in 1838 he fell ill, returning to Sydney and dying of tuberculosis and exhaustion in June 1839. A memorial was placed in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney by his friends and is surrounded by a grove of Bangalow palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana), named in his honour.

The Cunninghams’ had launched the Sydney Botanic Gardens and made a major contribution to Australian exploration, in particular Allan’s discovery of Pandora’s Pass, the Darling Downs and Cunninghams Gap – effectively releasing land to the west of the Blue Mountains for settlement. He is also noted for observing firestick farming on the Lachlan River and on the north Australian coast. Mount Cunningham was named after him.

Cunningham’s herbarium specimens were used for many of the descriptions of Australian plants completed by European botanists (esp. W. Hooker, Lindley, and A.P. De Candolle) although he did complete a few himself.

In 1827 he (?Cunningham) accompanied Captain James Stirling to Western Australia to determine a site for settlement, then in 1828 to select a site near Moreton Bay for a botanic garden, later becoming the Brisbane Botanic Gardens – and collect. He also made collecting trips to Van Diemen’s Land, prizing the ferns and mosses which he sent to W Hooker at Glasgow, and also collected on Norfolk Island.]

Cunningham was always keen to ‘improve’ Australia economically and in other ways through the introduction of exotic plants into either the wild or cultivation, planting fruit seed in the wild as a source of food. Oxley observed that he planted acorns, quince seed, peach and apricot seed on their 1817 expedition in inland NSW also at in King George Sound in the tradition of gardener-botanists of the earlier voyages of exploration.[36] He was thorough in his recording and mapping and made a major contribution to the exploration of SE Qld. Cunningham’s tradition of using Aboriginal guides was followed by many of Cunningham’s successors, notably the Silesian naturalist William Blandowski who collected extensively in northern Victoria.

Franz Sieber

Cunningham was on occasion accompanied by Franz Sieber a Czech botanical bounty hunter selling specimens to wealthy Europeans who spent seven months in 1823 around the Sydney and Blue Mountain area: he collected 1,500 ?species, his collections sent back to London to be sold in numbered sets.[37] He is commemorated in species in over 50 genera.[38]

William Brackenridge

In 1839 on a United States Exploring expedition under Commodore Wilkes the botanist William Brackenridge made a large collection in the Sydney region.[39]

James Anderson

Cunningham was succeeded in 1840 by James Anderson (New South Wales Colonial Botanist and Superintendent of the Sydney Botanic Gardens 1838-1842). He was the botanical collector on King’s voyages (1818-1821) and he collected plants for Kew until his death in 1842.

William Baxter

William Baxter apparently led a more fortunate life as gardener and botanical collector just after settlement. He had developed his horticultural reputation as gardener to the Comtesse de Vandes in Bayswater, London, many of the plants he had nurtured being used for illustrations in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. He was the first privately financed plant collector to be sent to Australia:[40] his mission was to collect seeds and roots for the London seedsman F. Henchman.[41] Arriving in Sydney in 1821 he joined the sealers and whalers whose trade was thriving at this time but he also found time to botanise on Kangaroo Island in 1822 and 1823, in King George Sound east in 1823-5 along the south coast including Wilson’s Promontory and also Twofold Bay in New South Wales in 1826 and then to Western Australia again in 1828-9 including King George Sound.[describe collection localities more precisely] Seeds from these collections were shipped to Britain, some quickly raised by Hugh Low and John Mackay in 1824 at their nurseries in Clapton. The whaling and sealing business must have thrived because he returned in 1828-1829 to the new garrison town at King George Sound with his own vessel, the schooner Brisbane, and here he collected the type of the plant now known as Banksia baxteri collecting for Charles Fraser of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney which had been established in 1816. An illustration of Correa pulchella by Sweet (1827-8) was from a plant raised from seed collected by Baxter on Kangaroo Island. His collections rode the fashion for Australian plants that was raging in England. In 1825 two of his introductions were illustrated in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine and more than one third of the illustrations in Sweet’s Flora Australasica (1827-28) were of his introductions. His specimens were housed, along with other Australian collections, in the Herbarium at Kew and the Herbarium of the British Museum of Natural History where they were later described and named by Robert Brown and Sir William Hooker. He returned to England in 1830 where in 1831 Joseph Knight’s Nursery in Chelsea allegedly paid an exhorbitant sum for the plants that he had brought back from New Holland. He is also commemorated in Kunzea baxteri.[42]

John Bidwill

John Bidwill arrived in Sydney in 1826 a collector and horticulturist who worked with the exotic and native plants, breeding Crinum And raising what was probably the first illustrated cultivar raised in Australia, Erythrina ‘E. Camdeni’ illustrated in the Botanical Register in 1847. The Bunya Pine A. bidwillii, which he discovered ?while collecting in Wide Bay and Moreton Bay, was named in his hnour by William Hooker. He both exported and imported seed and with this interest he was appointed Government Botanist and Director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens in 1847 by Governor Fitzroy, with a salary of 300 pounds a year, but this decision was overridden by the London appointment of Charles Moore.[43],[44]

Thomas Shepherd

Thomas Shepherd was proprietor of the Darling Nursery and agricultural editor of the Town and Country Journal and an assiduous collector.[45]

Late colonial consolidation

Caroline Atkinson

Caroline Atkinson was an outstanding naturalist, botanical artist, competent taxidermist journalist and first native-born writer of Australian fiction. She collected around Berrima and Kurrajong for William Wools, also sending her specimens to Melbourne.

In 1893 the Handbook of the Flora of New South Wales was published by Moore and the German horticulturally-trained collector Ernst Betche

Joseph Maiden

Joseph Maiden was appointed Director of the Botanic Gardens and Government Botanist in 1896 and it is from his Directorship that the modern herbarium dates. In 1905, he recovered from the Natural History Museum in London the 586 specimens collected by Banks and Solander. Maiden also established a strong research tradition in the taxonomy of Acacia and Eucalyptus. Maiden was succeeded by Richard Baker as Curator and Economic Botanists at the Sydney Technological Museum in 1901 working on pines and Eucalyptus, specializing in timbers and essential oils. This tradition has been followed in more recent times by detailed studies of Myrtaceae, Proteacea, Restionaceae, Juncaceae, and other Australian groups, by Barbara Briggs and Lawrie Johnson (Director 1972-1985).

Robert Anderson

Robert Anderson was a prominent figure, joining the herbarium in 1921 to become Chief Botanist in 1936 and then also Superintendent of the Gardens in 1945 (Director in 1960).

After the 1960s botany began to take even more seriously the attempt to form natural relationships and origins. Pioneers included Lawrie Johnson[46] and Barbara Briggs from Sydney.

The French connection had lapsed over time although New Caledonia remained a force and a number of Australian plants were described by André Guillaumin in Paris in the 20th century.

Rev. William Woolls, eventually a teacher at Sydney Grammar School, was a Mueller collector in the Parramatta district who corresponded with eminent botanists in Europe and published on the NSW Flora.

National Herbarium of New South Wales

The National Herbarium of New South Wales (NSW) was established in 1853. A purpose-built Herbarium and botanical museum designed by the Government Architect officially opened in 1901. Today the Herbarium totals about 1.425 million specimens. Valuing the collection, processing, and curation of each specimen at a conservative $180-200 this gives the collection a value around $280 million. Funding for a new Herbarium facility adjacent to the Australian PlantBank at the Mount Annan satellite garden was announced in 2019.[47]

Floras, checklists and journals

Publication of research by its personnel began in 1939 with Contributions from the New South Wales National Herbarium and another publication Contributions from the New South Wales National Herbarium: Flora Series (1961-1974) as the basis of a complete re-work of the state flora, becoming Flora of New South Wales but abandoned in 1984 in favour of the four-volume Flora of New South Wales (1990-1993) edited by Gwen Harden. The routine publication of taxonomic research was taken up in 1975 by a new journal in a new format called Telopea, followed in 1981 by an additional ecologically-based journal Cunninghamia. There are now regional herbaria in New South Wales that have produced their own Floras: Flora of the ACT by Nancy Burbidge and Max Gray (1970); Student’s Flora of North Eastern New South Wales by Noel Beadle (1971-1987); Kosciusko Alpine Flora by Alec Costin et al. (1979); Plants of Western New south Wales by Geoff Cunningham et al.. (1981) and Flora of the Sydney Region by Beadle, Evans and Carolin in 1982 (1st edn), and Roger Carolin and Mary Tindale in 1993 (4th edn). (Popular books Les Robinson)

Noel Beadle was foundation Professor of Botany at the University of New England, Armidale after working for the New South Wales Soil Conservation Service and as a lecturer in botany at the University of Sydney.

Australian National Herbarium

The Australian National Herbarium (CANBR) comprises the collection in Canberra (CANB) and the tropical Herbarium collection in Cairns (CNS).

From the 1920s the Australian Capital Territory has followed an independent botanical path from New South Wales Herbaria, undergoing various amalgamations and additions. The Australian Forestry School established the Forest Research Institute herbarium in 1927 managed by botanist Robert Johnston (1951-1969) who was followed by George Chippendale as Director from 1966 to 1983 during which time the Institute became the CSIRO Division of Forest Research. This herbarium was combined with Herbarium Australiense which was established in 1930. Under botanist Nancy Burbidge, who was appointed in 1946, Herbarium Australiense was united with another emerging collection accumulating in the CSIRO Division of Land Use Research; this also had a library that was extended by Burbidge’s successor, Hansjoerg Eichler and in 1984 the name was changed to Australian National Herbarium. An herbarium was established at Atherton in 1971 to deal with rainforest plants. In 1945 another herbarium was established at the National Botanic Gardens, initially for the native plant collections but later encompassing a research function amalgamating with the Australian National Herbarium in 1993 in the new Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, a consolidated collection of over 750,000 specimens including about 40,000 lichen specimens donated by Jack Elix. At the Australian National University, from 1958 a herbarium, now consisting of more than 25,000 specimens, was accumulated by Lindsay Pryor and Erwin Gauba.

Recent and contemporary botanists

Don Blaxell (Eucalyptus), David Bedford (Xanthorrhoeaceae), Barbara Briggs (Myrtaceae, Proteaceae, Restionaceae), Barry Conn (Lamiaceae, Loganiaceae, Xyridaceae), Joy Everett (Poaceae), Alistair Hay (Araceae), Ken Hill (Eucalyptus, gymnosperms), Surrey Jacobs (Poaceae, aquatic plants), Lawrie Johnson (Casuarinaceae, Juncaceae, Myrtaceae, Proteaceae, Restionaceae, Eucalyptus), Alma Lee (Xanthorrhoeaceae), Don McGillivray (Proteaceae, Grevillea), Joy Thompson (Fabaceae, Myrtaceae), Joyce Vickery (Poaceae), Peter Weston (Proteaceae), Karen Wilson (Casuarinaceae, Cyperaceae, Juncaceae), Peter Wilson (Fabaceae, Myrtaceae), Mary Tindale (Fabaceae, Acacia).

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