Recently my sister, Denise who lives in
The other book she sent me was “The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks”, about the voyage Captain James Cook made in the Endeavour and his discovery of the east coast on New
I had learnt of both persons during my early school days and reading through the journal, I thought some of the discoveries made by Joseph Banks could make for a interesting post.
The voyage of the Endeavour, commanded by James Cook, from 1768 to 1771, inaugurated the history of European settlement in
Cook had been instructed to sail to Tahiti to observe the transit of the planet Venus across the face of the sun, an event that was predicted to occur on the
Cook was further instructed to search for the legendary southern continent. The west coast of
He then turned west and sailed up the east coast of Australia - the first European to do so - naming it first `New Wales' and then `New South Wales' and taking possession of it in the name of King George III at an island he named 'Possession Island' off the tip of Cape York. The voyage had been undertaken at the urging of the Royal Society, a distinguished assembly- of those interested in all aspects of science. One of its fellows was Joseph Banks, young, rich and passionate about natural history.
Joseph Banks was born in London into a wealthy family, on the 13th February 1743. Joseph Banks received his earliest education at home under private tuition. At age nine he attended
The Endeavour sailed from
Banks brought a substantial library of over 100 volumes preserving bottles, nets, hooks, trawls, devices for catching insects, a sort of underwater telescope, artists' materials, pap for drying and storing specimens - all the paraphernalia - the natural historian. He also took a guitar which he was skilled in playing, and his dogs - including greyhounds for chasing game. It was alleged that he spent 10,000 pounds on the voyage.
He was promptly appointed to a joint Royal Navy/Royal Society scientific expedition to the
The condition of the Endeavour made sailing back to
On the return to England Banks had around 30,000 plant specimens, revealing 1,400 species new to science, and about one thousand species of animal were collected. Drawings of nearly 1,000 plants and 398 of animals had been made.
Two drawings by Banks taken along the East Coast.
He actively supported the proposal of
As befits someone with such a role in opening the South Pacific to Europe, his name dots the map of the region, Banks Peninsula on South Island, New Zealand, the Banks Islands in modern-day Vanuatu and Banks Island in the Northwest Territories, Canada.
Because of his keen interest in the colony Banks has been called 'the Father of
The Banksia, was named after the botanist Sir Joseph Banks, consists of approximately 70 species of shrubs and trees. All are Australian natives except for one species from
Flowers are tightly-packed, candle-like spikes that gradually open from the base upwards. These are followed by woody seeds cones that often contain the remnants old flowers. Flowers, foliage and seed capsules are prized by the cut flower industry. The flowers are an abundant source of nectar for honeyeating birds and insects, which in turn attract other insect-eating birds. Larger birds such as parrots and cockatoos feed on the seeds.
His photo also appeared on the paper five dollar note in the Australian currency before it was replaced by the new plastic currency.
Banks health began to fail early in the nineteenth century and he suffered much from gout every winter. After 1805 he practically lost the use of his legs, and had to be wheeled to his meetings in a chair. His mind remained as vigorous as ever. On
This is just a small selection of the life of Sir Joseph Banks. More detailed writings can be viewed by searching in Google or Yahoo. The journal of the voyage of the Endeavour by Joseph Banks, and edited by Paul Brunton is well worth the read. The original journal is preserved in the Mitchell Library at the Sate Library of