Category: Books

Allan Cunningham Letters of a Botanist Explorer 1791-1839

Allan Cunningham is rightly celebrated as the leading botanist in Australia in the first half of the 19th century. He was also an accomplished explorer, and a pioneer physical geographer, plant geographer and ecologist at a time when those sciences were in their infancy. Cunningham was a very enthusiastic correspondent, both in the numbers and (often) length of his letters, and this book brings together over 490 letters, to him, from him, and (between third parties) about him. More …

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King’s Collectors for Kew by A.E. & T.A.Orchard

In 1814, with the close of the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Joseph Banks persuaded the Prince Regent (later King George IV) to send two collectors to the colonies of New South Wales and the Cape of Good Hope to gather propagating material to rejuvenate and enhance the King’s Garden at Kew, then, as now, one of the world’s great botanic gardens. More …

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The Botanist and the Judge by A.E. & T.A. Orchard

On Christmas Day, 1818, the tiny naval Cutter ‘Mermaid’, under the command of Lieutenant Phillip Parker King, sailed through Sydney Heads en route to Tasmania, where King intended to survey the newly discovered harbours of Port Davey and Macquarie Harbour. On board were two passengers, the botanist Allan Cunningham … and Justice Barron Field.

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Allan Cunningham Botanist and Explorer

Allan Cunningham was perhaps, with the exception of Robert Brown, the most accomplished of the botanists sent out from Kew Gardens during the golden age when Sir Joseph Banks was director. He also explored much of south-eastern Australia in the years 1817 to 1828.

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Biographical Sketch of Allan Cunningham

In a university library, buried between the covers of two very heavy, very old books, is a treasure wrapped in green canvas, lost, waiting to be discovered. The treasure is Robert Heward’s 1842 Biographical Sketch of the Late Allan Cunningham (1791-1839). ( Read the full text here.)

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Early Explorers in Australia

Thanks to Ida Lee we can read about Allan Cunningham’s amazing adventures and his plant collecting straight from his journals. She became ill before her manuscript was in the form she would have preferred. Lucky for us she pulled together the information she had gathered the best way she could and has left if for us to easily access Cunningham’s journals and the history surrounding him. (Read an extract of Ida Lee’s book relating to Allan Cunningham here.)

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Allan Cunningham Australian Collecting Localities

The focus of this publication is to provide precise locality information for the numerous localities visited by Allan Cunningham between December 1817 and April 1822 when he was the botanist accompanying Phillip Parker King on his hydrographic surveys of the Australian coastline. This information will facilitate the duration of Cunningham’s plant specimens, which are distributed among herbaria worldwide, and will assist those who wish to revisit his collecting localities.

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Most Perfectly Safe

Granville Allen Mawer takes us back to Australia’s colonial past to vividly describe what life was really like on a convict transport – and conduct an investigation into a train of disasters that, were they to occur today, would be at least be worth a Royal Commission and might put paid to a political career or two

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Phillip Parker King 1791-1856

The life of Phillip Parker King , son of Governor Philip Gidley King, was inextricably linked with the establishment of the colony of New South Wales. His maritime exploration and survey work around Australia 1817-1822 completed the work of Matthew Flinders. His hydrographic work in the Magellan Straits 1826-1830 laid the platform for the famous voyage of HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin 1831-1836.

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King of the Australian Coast

Phillip Parker King is perhaps one of Australia’s greatest yet largely unsung early maritime surveyors. Hordern relives King’s series of gruelling voyages between 1817 and 1822 – from the maritime hazards of the reefs, shoals, tides and unpredictable weather to the unfamiliar wildlife and Aboriginal presence he encountered along the way.

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The Australian Colonial House

James Broadbent’s The Australian Colonial House is the first comprehensive history of domestic architecture in New South Wales during its first fifty years. It looks at the houses that were built, and the influences on their building – not only the stylistic influences of contemporary British architecture and the influences of climate and distance, but also the social influences which motivated their builders.

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The Golden Decade of Australian Architecture

This book discusses 27 properties built by John Verge in the 1800s. Of those, Allan Cunningham spent many pleasant hours in at least two. One was the home of Hannibal Macarthur, The Vineyard (built 1835) and the other was the home of his friend, the Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay, Elizabeth Bay House (built 1835).

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Memoirs of George Suttor FLS

George Suttor and his family arrived in Sydney for the first time in November 6, 1800. He travelled with a precious collection of plants supplied by Sir Joseph Banks for the New South Wales colony. It was in George Suttor’s home in Elizabeth Street Sydney where Allan Cunningham was nursed during his fatal illness in 1839.

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Breaking the Bank

It was the largest bank robbery in Australian history. On Sunday 14 September 1828, thieves tunneled through a sewage drain into the vault of Sydney’s Bank of Australia and stole £14,000 in notes and cash – the equivalent of $20 million in today’s currency.

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An Irresistible Temptation

An Irresistible Temptation is set against the backdrop of a particularly divisive period in colonial New South Wales. Not only did the scandal titillate Sydney, its legal and political ramifications pushed the colony to the brink of a constitutional crisis and it contributed to the savagery of Governor Darling’s public vilification, bestowing upon Jane New a place in the annals of Australian colonial history.

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The Mermaid Tree by Robert Tiley

Robert Tiley’s The Mermaid is the extraordinary story of the little known successors to Cook, Bligh, La Perouse, and Flinders, why they did it, what they got out of it and the haphazard global politics they had to endure.

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Foundations of Identity

Building Early Sydney 1788-1822. Peter Bridges tells the story of the era (1788-1822) and the philosophies that lay behind the planning of Australia’s first settlement. A central theme of the book describes the building and shaping of Sydney from its origins as a penal camp inhabited by convicts and their gaolers to its emergence as a lively small town where increasing numbers of men and women were going about their daily affairs with growing freedom.

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A Year At Kew

Accompanying a new BBC2 series, A Year At Kew is a revealing month-by-month journey through the garden, following the work of the multitude of dedicated gardeners, visionary scientists, enthusiastic botanists and talented landscape architects who work hard to maintain the unrivaled collections and their environments for future generations.

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Joseph Banks and the English Enlightenment

This book places the work of Joseph Banks in the context of the Enlightenment. It aims at a better understanding of Banks himself as well as seeking to provide an analysis of some of the major scientific and cultural preoccupations of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century British society.

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The Search for the Inland Sea

John Oxley Surveyor-General of New South Wales ranks among the great explorers of Australia. His expeditions along the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers were feats of dogged endurance and persistence, as he pursued his dream of finding the mysterious ‘inland sea’ that he firmly believed lay in the Australian interior.

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