19th October 1818 – a visit to The Illawarra

On this day, 18th October 1818, Allan Cunningham visits Illawarra District, south of Sydney on the New South Wales coast.

Cunningham is known to have made eight visits there between 1818 and 1830 . . . Cunningham initially visited Illawarra at a very early stage in the region’s development. The first white settlers, apart from itinerant cedar-cutters, had moved in just 3 years previously (i.e. around 1815) with their cattle and horses for grazing, and the area was in a relatively pristine state. Cunningham was therefore on hand to observe and collect a large amount of indigenous botanical specimens before widespread clearing and farming of the land by white-men in the 1820s and 1830s destroyed much of the natural flora, and introduced numerous varieties of foreign species such as European grasses and crops, and weeds such as blackberry and lantana. [1]



Reference 1: Michael Organ’s Australian Historical Research Website – Allan Cunningham, Botanist, in the Illawarra 1818-1830