We’re proud to announce that Tony (Anthony) Orchard, a valued contributor to The Allan Cunningham Project, and author of several books dedicated to the history of Allan Cunningham, has been presented the Nancy T. Burbidge Medal for 2016.
When studying the coming and goings of geographical explorers you need a map, a very precise, detailed readable map along with clear geographic reference points. A map that shows where the explorers walked, where they camped, what they observed and what they reported in their journals. John Whitehead understood this when he walked in the footsteps of the explorers. He has taken the time to share his experience by recording geographic locations, providing maps and photos of a landscape that in some places still remains visually similar to what the explorers saw. Using the explorers’ original maps and journals, John found where they had been and with respect and dedication stood where these intrepid explorers once stood. His books are indispensable for those who take the time to walk in the footsteps of our early colonial adventurers.
Today, September 2012, we finally observed the Philip Island Hibiscus in bloom at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and managed to capture an image. I learned about this plant some years ago while writing up my research on Allan Cunningham Botanist Explorer 1791-1839. It’s very rare. I’ve known for some time that it bloomed in September but every year prior to 2012 I either forgot about it or a visit to the Sydney Botanic Gardens was inconvenient.
The pond was darkened by shade with slime along the sides. The water was clear, the mud at the bottom of the pond was visible and the water was quite still like glass, reflecting the surrounding palms. Occasionally water birds created ripples and splashes as they played around a sandstone obelisk. The Obelisk, made of decaying sandstone was standing in the pond like a neglected piece of the past.
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Cunningham set a course NNW in the direction of Premer and Tambar Springs on 5 May, evidently following generally the course of the left bank of Coxs Creek. Heavy rain began to fall again and for two days they made little progress, being further delayed by the injuries borne by some of the men from earlier accidents. Having passed Premer (as it now is), they camped somewhere near Tambar Springs on 8 May.
Standing in a garden at the University of NSW are several sandstone columns known as the Subiaco Columns, precious fragments of our colonial past holding up the sky. They have no signage and no obvious purpose. The Doric columns once decorated the impressive verandah of Hannibal Macarthur’s early 19th century mansion known then as The Vineyard and later known as Subiaco. Built in 1835, possibly by John Verge and John…
In 1911 tradesmen arrived in Kent Street near Sydney’s Town Hall. They had instructions from the church leaders to dismantle St Andrew’s Scots Presbyterian Church which included the removal of several memorial plaques, stained glass windows, a stone font, the timber rafters and cedar pews … Everything was transported to Rose Bay and installed in the new Scots church a few kilometers from Sydney Harbour’s southern headland.
For a long time The Allan Cunningham research team has searched for the actual street number in Macquarie Street where Mr Cunningham lived. To date we have not been successful, however, if you read the 1827 newspaper article quoted below you can come close to pinpointing his address on a street map, of the CBD of Parramatta.
One of the joys of writing non-fiction is the research, the serendipity of discovery. It would have been nice to report that I found a specimen of Polypodium dictyopteris (Loxogramme dictyopteris) collected by Allan Cunningham in 1838 only months before his death and it would have been nice to say he discovered the plant on such and such a day in such and such a place.
Years ago Phillip Parker King stood on a hill near his property Dunheved. I imagine he felt very pleased with himself, his success and the building project that was about to take place. A small church was about to be built on the hill, a church that would fulfill the wish of his mother, Anna Josepha King. The land had been set aside some time ago and now, at long last, building had commenced. The resulting church was named, Church of St Mary Magdalene, consecrated in April 1840. It still stands today in a suburb of Sydney, St Marys, on South Creek near Parramatta.
More than a chronological list of his achievements, geographical arrivals and departures: The Allan Cunningham Time Line Journal has developed over a long period of time and as each piece is written, I continue to expand the story line and wax lyrical. My haphazard research over the last few years has given me a knowledge of this man’s story, the detail of which surprises me sometimes and I marvel at the resilience and tenacity of the people involved.
A photo taken . . . holding a moment in time, suspended . . . contemplating a tree. The two of us just sat in the mid-morning sunshine, on a bench in the Sydney Botanic Gardens, a coffee comfortably nestled in our hands, contemplating a tree. Simple things can be so good. It wasn’t just any tree. We knew its botanical name. Did someone once say that until something has a name it doesn’t exist. The tree was an Araucaria cunninghamii better known as a Hoop Pine. Let me explain . . .
As part of the Allan Cunningham Project we are following in the footsteps of our tenacious Botanist. Our first adventure outside of the Sydney metropolitan area took place some time ago. We visited the Glenroy Camping Ground, just a little way from Hartley, west of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.
This series of articles is a recording of my journey as I get to know a botanist, Allan Cunningham, who dedicated his life to science in the early 1800s. After coming across his grave site in the middle of the Sydney Botanic Gardens, I was inspired to get to know him. The moss covered plaque on the memorial obelisk drew me in. I’d never heard of him and my curiosity twinkled like a bright light. The plaque simply explained that the body of Allan Cunningham, Botanist Explorer 1791-1839 was buried within the obelisk.