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The Botany Bay plant specimens

Banks and Solander had certainly collected enthusiastically at Botany Bay. On 3 May Banks reported: Our collection of plants was now grown so immensly large that it was necessary that some extraordinary care should be taken of them least they should spoil in the books. I therefore devoted this day to that business and carried all the drying paper, near 200 Quires of which the larger part was full, ashore and spreading them upon a sail in the sun kept them in this manner exposd the whole day, often turning them and sometimes turning the Quires in which were plants inside out.

Despite this, the very next day Banks was back again collecting in the bush: May 4th  Myself in the woods botanizing as usual…

A definitive list of the plants collected at Botany Bay in 1770 was never formally published but we have been able to put together a Banks and Solander species list based on material in the British Museum and at the National Herbarium of NSW. We have also compiled plant species lists (below) for the other places of interest in Botany Bay, based on fieldwork in those areas.

The Banks and Solander specimens were not all collected at Kurnell. The naturalists made excursions to different parts of Botany Bay and the habitat of some species indicates they were likely to have been collected from the La Perouse side of the Bay, or from the western side. Many of the species collected in 1770 can still be seen growing wild in bushland around the Bay. Some species are still common, but others are now extinct in the area.

We would like to acknowledge the Cadigal people of the Eora Nation within Sydney and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future.