Naturalist and botanist Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820) advised Australia’s first Governor Phillip about what plants to take to New South Wales to sustain pioneering troops and convicts. He advised they could be obtained en route. Taking corn and wheat seed from England at the Cape of Good Hope Phillip gathered such exotic plants as quince, apple, pear, strawberry and sugar cane, as well as oaks and myrtles for their decorative qualities. The plants and seeds essential for the colony’s survival were placed in land set aside for ‘farm and garden’ at Botany Bay. When other areas with better soil quality along the Hawkesbury River opened up, the original plants were moved. Banks’ continuing interest in Australia, and its exotic array of native plants ensured the establishment of a botanical garden, and that many plant hunters would adventure down under to record and gather plants not seen anywhere else before.
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.
The first stirring of what would become known as the China Trade began when Europe was still emerging from medievalism. Venetian traveller Marco Polo’s ‘Description of the World’ written in 1298 covered a surprisingly large part of it uniquely detailed from reputedly, first hand observation. From the Polar Sea to…